Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Autumn Project Roundup

 Just wanted to share a quick picture taken of all the things I am working on at the moment. more to follow tomorrow.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Ecofriendly Vacation

It is official we will spend our holiday in Montenegro.I have to say first I was not sure about it especially seeing the "Whistle-blower" earlier in the week. Still I put all the thoughts about being sold by the pound behind me after reading really good comments on the place we are going.
Why now? I know that the summer is almost over but we don't actually like to go in the summer as places are too crowded and hot. Moreover I have sun allergy therefore less sun is better for me even with my Teflon creams. Because of this our holidays are not only beach based. We do a lot of sight seeing and hiking too. I actually have never been on a lazy holiday myself.  (They must be completely boring.:O))))
Every year we  focus on making our holiday more eco-friendly. I know this might sound a bit off in the sense that it takes the fun out of the whole thing, but it is not that hard to manage. I collected some things I do which  to organize a green/greener holiday.

  • Unplug everything except the lights you put on timers to deter burglars. this will save quite a lot of cost. 
  • Getting there try to make sure that you have packed food instead of buying on the way. Think about all the packaging and plastic cups used for the food at airport cafes not to mention fast food chains ( they actually hide the food in the packaging). To avoid producing so much waste always pre-pack. Your local supermarket will have all what you need.I tend to buy more vegetables and fruit and prepare snacks using inexpensive lunch boxes from IKEA.This makes them stay fresh for the journey. I only use paper napkins which are green for any smaller items.
  • Stay at a Green HotelEcofriendly establishments offer water- and electricity-saving measures. Even if your hotel isn't officially green, make your stay more efficient by turning off lights when you're not using them, switching off the AC when you leave, taking shorter showers, and bringing your own toiletries.
  • When you are there buy local food and try going to restaurants which serve local food.
      • Don't forget to check out the  local farmers' markets, and natural grocery stores, they will have the best of the season freshly picked. They make for ideal breaks -- and you'll be supporting the communities you pass through.
      Hope to comeback to you shortly with all good news about the holiday and  lovely photos of Montenegro.

      Monday, 22 August 2011

      Pumpkin Basics

       Pumpkins are the best vegetable for me.You can get so much out of them. use them for cooking baking sweet or savory. It is also incredible how a small seed like that can grow such a huge plant.We plant a lot of pumpkins in the garden every year some for eating and some for decoration.The ones only for decorating come in a nice variety of color and shape.My personal favorite is the one that looks like a little mushroom. I always stock up of these in time for the Autumn holidays.

      Pumpkins begin to ripen in September but we love to leave them outside until the first frost.That little frostbite gives them a special flavor. Because they store well, pumpkins are available all through the fall and winter.

      If you are more of a cooking person make sure to choose a variety of pumpkin that's intended for cooking, rather than for decoration. The ubiquitous field pumpkin -- the kind most commonly used to carve jack-o'-lanterns -- has watery, stringy flesh and is not recommended for eating. Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are two widely available varieties that are good for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh.These varieties are also available without seed coat. This makes easier to roast the seeds and no peeling at all.

      Pumpkins keep well at room temperature for up to a month. Stored in a cool cellar or refrigerator, they can last up to three months. Once cut, pumpkin pieces should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated. Use cut pumpkin within five days.

      There are a tonnes of recipes for pumpkins but I mostly like the simplest ones which just enhance the flavor but does not alters it. Home grown pumpkins are full of flavor as they are grown in an organic environment they are all bio as well.

      Simple Roast Pumpkin
      (Gluten free)


      * Any size pumpkin
      * 1 cup of water


      Preheat oven to 240 degrees. Take any size pumpkin. Give it a nice rinse, than cut it into smaller size pieces. Place all on a tray no need for /oil or and grease/. Place a cup of cold water on the tray place it in the oven for 40-45 minutes /might be more depending on your oven/ until brownish orange.When ready remove from oven and leave it to cool.When it has cooled down just take a teaspoon and start scooping! If you are on the more luxurious side you can add some nutmeg and cream.

      My gran used to take this recipe one step further where she is roasting in a Hungarian Aga.That is even more delicious as it gets a hint of smoke not a lot just a tiny bit.That adds to it a lot in flavor.
      Just thinking, writing about it brings back all those nice memories, smells, first heat in the fireplace and the smell of autumn. I just cannot wait for that!!!!!

      My other favorite is pumpkin soup. As this is not that well known in Hungary this is not form family tradition but from and adopted recipe from Ireland.

      ♥Sweet Pumpkin Soup♥
      (Gluten free, Sugar free)


      * 2 3/4 pounds sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, halved and seeded
      * 1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
      * 1 garlic clove, peeled
      * 1/2 cup olive oil
      * Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
      * 5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock
      * Nutmeg powder
      * Xylitol


      Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut pumpkin into 2-inch pieces.
      Combine pumpkin, onion, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Add oil and 2 teaspoons salt; toss to coat, then spread in a single layer. Roast until pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes, rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins.

      Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium.
      Pour in 2 cups stock; puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth. Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.Flavor with nutmeg and xylitol before serving. i like to add a nice lump of cream too.

      Sunday, 21 August 2011

      First Crafts for Christmas

      Yes, I said Christmas. Yes, yes, I'm talking to you about planning for Christmas in the summer. I like to be super organized about Christmas especially when it comes to my crafts. The before years I was asked to do, sew pressies for friends and also got a few requests in my shop too. I needle to face the sewing in time in order that I can be ready and ship everything out on time.In this way I can enjoy myself and be with my family.This method works every year.(Although I also prepare things for Halloween in August. I squeeze some time in for the Christmas crafts too). I do one or two simpler crafts per day.

      I've been asked a few times over the years how I plan for Christmas and if it takes the fun out of the season to prepare throughout the year.I shop throughout the year to spread the cost and hassle, more over out of season craft supplies are on sale especially in the summer so I can buy them really cheap. Not to mention that when the season really hits in supplies are running low or are out of stock instantly in the craft store I prefer.
      I prefer to hand- make, sew gifts for my family and friends.I tried the shopping for a few years but ended up disappointed a lot of times. I don't really like crowds of people and I'm especially disinclined towards them when I'm in a hot shopping center and people are grabbing for that year's must have Christmas gift. I cannot cope with that.

      I  make a plan of what I actually want to do for presents. I have a theme for each year just to excite myself and make plans according to that. for this year I have drowned up two themes Country Christmas for adults and Nutcracker for children. I don't have a detailed plan as yet but will have that too in a week or so. I will share it together with all the projects I will want to do too.

      I like to kept it simple and keep a list of what I have in Excel.When I am ready with a present I wrap it to save time. You might think this method is a bit over the top but it really works saves me not just a lot of time but money as well. It also allows me to enjoy the season, meet friends and take my time to have nice strolls at the Christmas markets for that calm and easy Christmas spirit.

      Thursday, 11 August 2011

      House Hunt

      We have been at it for almost two weeks now but we are still unlucky, we haven’t found what we were looking for.Sometimes I feel frustrated and disappointed a little, I even feel like giving up here and there for a minute.We are having a hard time finding the right house because we have so many factors to consider. First is that we are on a budget.We are also considering the number of rooms, we want a house with four rooms since we don’t want to share rooms. Last but definitely not the least is the location of the house. This one is the most important of all. This is the reason why we are moving out anyway, we are currently living in a  flat situated inside the city, in the 3rd district. This used to be such a nice area (except the  huge apartment blocks) . It changed a lot since we moved away and is getting worse.So now we are looking for  a home  outside the city  but not very far form the capital as we don't want to add too much to our daily commute .
      Hopefully we will find one very soon. I want to transfer as soon as possible, but definitely before Christmas.Hopefully we will make some progress in the autumn.

      I try to look at things in a positive way and started gathering ideas from different websites and magazines.The other day I came across a site called Hocked on Houses. Julia who is owning the site has been writing about houses in  films and series. She also have a neat comments on different styles. She has covered all my favorite film houses like Practical Magic, You've got mail, Twilight, The Proposal, Sex and the City and many-many more.She also has some celebrity houses listed. I love looking at them for inspiration.

      {House from The Proposal in Alaska}

       {House from The Proposal in Alaska}

      They are all such delight and i love to look for the small details.I know our house wont be this lavish but still some affordable luxury can always be added to it.I have to say my favorite house till now has to be the one form the movie Practical Magic.With the setting  and the windings stairs and that conservatory. Not to mention the kitchen.If I could have anything like that I would be cooking every nigh just to be in it.Wouldn't you? I just cannot stop adoring it. I am definitely watching that move tonight.:O))

      {House from Practical Magic}

      PS: If anyone knows where the the Lilly of the valley cardigan is coming from please let me know!!!

      Wednesday, 10 August 2011

      A place to visit in Budapest

      I have forgotten how nice Budapest can be but had the best reminder last evening. We had a  stroll downtown with my hubby.

       We took the first corner on the right after that i just couldn't tell if I was still in BP or Paris. We came across a place  I have forgotten about a long time before. Lovely and elegant  Café Gerlóczy in a quite French style little square absolutely in the city. There is a fantastic and elegant hotel above the  Café too which has perfect reviews on Trip advisor.

      The old building is beautifully renovated and the rooms are elegant and spotless. Firm mattresses, mini bar, and TV. (...) The location is good with easy walks to the Pest waterfront, market, main pedestrian street, city sights, and restaurants. The cafe downstairs has a wonderful ambiance, delicious fare and you can sit outside in the shade of the big tree out front. Cafe G is a small, green, welcoming oasis in the midst of the city. Breakfast omelets and fruit drinks are good! We highly recommend Café Gerlóczy!
       {Home and Away}
      They also have a simple (in a good way) and fantastic lunch menu, which we will definitely will be trying in the near future.Here is a nice sample:


      Cauliflower cream soup with chives and pepper flavoured crouton
      Wild mushroom cream soup with crouton
      Beef meat balls with sesame and spicy cream

      Main Courses

      Pork mignons with bacon & cabbage
      Chicken leg with tomato-pesto flavoured gnocchi
      Marrow vegetable dish with minced nut

      Panna Cotta Guava -Green tea sause
      Fruit sorbet with cacao
      Plum tart with cinnamon sauce

      {We love Budapest}

      Tuesday, 9 August 2011

      What would Martha do next?

      As I sit down to write this, I am not in a happy mood.I know I was not very active in the last weeks but lately I just feel so down, somehow nothing can cheer me up.I have to admit that I never was the kind of write-too- much-about-myself-blogger but somehow I feel to share this with someone, everyone. It is not actually a kind of sad state but an exhausted state I am in.I had been working a lot lately especially on my goodies.I still feet that sitting and crafting relaxes me a lot but I feel like I have overdone it lately and might need a break from it. Makes me feel both scared and resentful, although I’m not sure of whom. This does not mean that I will stop (I would not be able to do that) I just need to find a moderate balance between my everyday life and my crafts. I would be the happiest person if  I could make a living out of my crafts but that is not possible for now.This might be something I don't even dare to dream of somehow that feels even worse than feeling bad and being exhausted generally.Why don't I dare to dream anymore? I couldn't help but wonder if my past life experiences made me develop a too down to earth attitude? I just cannot deny I know I did  but guess what sometimes we’re running, trying to not look too closely at something we fear might be true about ourselves, aren't we? The most important now is to take a step back and acknowledge and observe.Why? To make sure I am curing the right problems. This gives me a nice distance to look at things from a different angle, which is helpful.

      I also drew up some helpful tips for myself and you  for personal growth and moderateness ( in case you would be in the same situation and happen to read this).

       Count your blessings
      Some weeks ago I read in an article that successful people do savoring. It means that you can be thankful even for the small things in life and being able to remember and relive memories.I have heard this before so many times but never thought about how to put it in action. Take time to look back but also forward. Taking the time to look back  helps to see that you are blessed in many ways. It builds up a kind of gratitude and appreciation towards yourself. All you have achieved can be realized in a more relaxed positive way.Visit all the past events good and bad on your inner TV taking enough time to savor. But never forget to look forward in the same time to make sure you are where things happen.

       Be there and slow down
      Stop multitasking and focus on one thing at a time. Slow down to take time in your tasks. Doing less isn't bad. For a lot of time I was forcing myself into situations to be better and productive and do more and more. I have to say that these methods do not work!!! Doing less with my time has left me more satisfied at the end of my day.  I might have done less but what i have done was perfect. It also helped me improve my attitude in really difficult and stressful situations especially at work.

      Growth and focus

      You can't grow without pushing your limits.What does this mean?How can I achieve this without overdoing, over-exhausting myself? These were the first things I have asked myself at this point but i just had to face it this was the wrong approach. It is about deepening knowledge and reactions to situations.Even if it is hard with each challenge comes new growth. Engage in rewarding efforts. In order to develop in this way  it is inevitable to learn to see your mistakes not as personal flaws, but as the source of your most valuable life lessons.For me this is always the hardest part but you have to see these missteps as a part of a process. The most important is to stay focused on where you're headed.Find your direction in life by looking where you want to go, not where you don't.

      Appreciate others
      The best way to get over a bad phase is to meet others. This might sound harsh but you have to give a chance to life to slap you in the face with an other person. No not literally, what I mean is when you are getting to know someone else better you always realize that the problem you have is nothing compared to that someone's. For me that is the time when I realize that I have to try to do better.This gives you a lot of energy which you can waste on the ones you love believe me more will be coming back to you. By sharing what you have and know you will realize what you are ready to learn.

      Start doing
      Make this the day you stop dreaming and start doing. Take your time to realize what your real contribution is to life. Making dreams come true is not easy it is hard work and full of obstacles sometimes They say that it takes some time to get a chance from life.I know this might sound harsh but I don't believe in this type of faith. it only depends on you to be there when a chance happens. All I can say if you want to be there for sure you need to start things yourself. Make things happen!!!! Even if it is the smallest thing  it might make a big contribution in the whole process of getting there.

      These are the thoughts I wanted to share for today. I will let you know how this self medication is working out for me and also look forward hearing your thoughts.