Friday, 31 August 2012

Monty Python ~ Self Defense Against Fruit

Ahhh the life skills that Monty Python have taught us! How would we get by without knowing how to defend ourselves against fruit? I do love me some John Cleese!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Perhaps I've found my direction

Firstly let me apologise for my bland writing today, my concentration has been on holiday recently and I'm not sure when it's planned on coming back... I really REALLY want to share this though so if you're there reading (hi there!) I'm sorry if this really boring! I know what I'm trying to say, it just rambles on a bit...

Sorry again! SO anyway:

Oh yes indeed I was busy :o) As you may know recently I set up my own teeny little page 'Pretty Things' to express to the world my love of drawing and passion for photography in the hopes that with enough practice, sometime soon I'll be able to start charging for sessions. Photography and art go hand in hand for me, of all the creative things I've tried, loved and either suceeded or failed at, drawing and photography have stuck with me through everything and been something that I've experienced a drive to continue doing nomatter what. Oh gosh I think it's love!! It awakens something in me that wants to push forward, to experience, to discover, to learn and essentially become so much of who I am that I could never be without. If you remember my post from a few months ago, I swore to continue doing what I love regardless of any other factors and although I've still experienced the same feelings that have made me want to give up, I keep thinking back and remembering why I started again in the first place.

I'm not entirely sure what posessed me to go with 'Pretty Things''s not overly creative. I guess at the time I thought it would do till I thought of something else. I have no idea why I drew such a difinitave line between that and my blogging. Why did I think they needed to be seperate? Who knows... my brain confuses me at the best of times. That's just the way your resident Quirky Bean is most of the time :o) You should know that by know, you're here reading it! haha! But anyway back to what I was busy with... Why not rename the page 'Quirky Bean Pencil Portraits and Photography'? TA DA! Instant relief from non-matching ventures! Ok yeah I admit that was driving me nuts more than anything........ so I've tied being the Quirky Crafting Shmoogle Bean in with my little venture, 'Quirky Bean Pencil Portraits and Photography' and now... I am happy :o)
I spent about 3 hours last night re-designing the page which, let me tell you, was A LOT of work! But I got there in the end and I am rather happy with how it looks! I used the same fonts and colours as I used when designing my blog and I love the way the two now tie in together (again IT MATCHES WOOOOO!)
There are only a few things that I still need to work out and probably need to do it soon (the lack of concentration isn't helping this matter). You know how I kind of ramble a lot here and the point of course being that I don't really have a direction in life or indeed much at all in general? I don't want my photography to be that way. I mean hey sure I can ramble all I like here... whether you read or not is your choice, you're not paying me for my rambling. Oh man I'm doing it again... (SORRY!! I told you it was gonna happen)
I need to sit down with a large sheet of paper, a pen and really truly have a think about the kinds of things I want to achieve from this. A brainstorm if you will of the directions I see myself going in, what kinds of photography services will I offer, at what price should I offer them, how much are my skills really worth, how much portfolio work should I do, how much of my time am I willing to commit to this? So as you can see there is a lot for me to go over... to be honest it is a little daunting, but again, that drive that so regularly sees me give up and go no further is there telling me that this is what I want, this is where I want to be.
Suppose that day will be today! It's not yet 10am, so that leaves me plenty of time to get to it!
I had another idea too... I'm not sure this will happen any time soon... but I am more thrilled at the opportunity to continue creating things and crafting and crocheting my heart out and working that into my photography. My head spins when I think of all those delicious props and things I could be working on in the future and storing in my very own studio room *sigh* what a life! Perhaps it's just a pipe dream, but we'll see right?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Quirky Bean Weekly Spotlight Tash from 'New English Mum in America'

This week's EXTREMELY late blogger Spotlight is Tash from New English Mum in America! Say hi to a fellow Tash and don't forget to visit her blog and send her plenty of lovin'! I should really apologise here as I promised Tasha's interview would be up months ago *shuffles feet sheepishly* but I short...I kinda forgot to keep up with my weekly Spotlights. BUT I am BACK and looking forward to meeting a bundle of new bloggers! So this is Tash! Enjoy!

Describe yourself in 5 words
Sarcastic, quirky, patient, curious, hungry.

Why did you begin blogging?
I am on the internet a lot and follow a ton of other blogs, I love to write so I figured it made sense to jump on the bandwagon!  It also enables me to meet new people and to be sociable, which has been seriously lacking in my life these these days!!
What is your all time favorite food?
It has to be my Mums beef stew and dumplings (British style) NO ONE does it quite like she does.  It is amazing and I miss it.

If had $1000 to spend on anything in the world, what would you spend it on?
A flight to England so that I could go to my best friends wedding in September

What was the last book you read?
Belle by Lesley Pearse.  She is an English author and not all that well known in the States.  She is my absolute favorite author of all time, I have read all of her books.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
Willy Wonka. Seriously my idea of heaven.

If your life could have a theme song, what would it be and why?
Que Sara, Sara - People tell me that I am the most optimistic person they have ever met.  I tend to always see the best in every situation.  I go into things knowing that sometimes it's going to suck, but I always know that there will a light at the end of the tunnel and what ever will be, will be.

About Tash!
I am an almost 30 year old English gal who has lived in the US since 2008.  I moved here to be with my Husband Chris and we have just recently welcomed our son Cole to the family. I love writing, cooking, reading, shoes, anything blue in color and if you bring me chocolate I'll be your best friend for life! 

*sigh* I feel like my ripple blanket will never be finished!

A day of watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy and working my fingers into crochet overdrive is in order today! My poor blanket isn't even half way yet, and it's gift number 11 out of the 56 I need to finish before Christmas! Good thing I started my Handmade Challange early right? This is just one of 3 blankets I was hoping to do, BUT I do still have time! Don't panic Mr Mannering!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Now THAT'S a mustache!

I have been getting much amusement out of this website thismorning...

Source: via Tash on Pinterest
Frankly I can't stop laughing!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Rainbow Swirl Cookies!

Hiya guys! Happy Saturday morning! Truly the best part of any weekend I think :o) During the week I had a bit of fun and created RAINBOW cookies!! They sort of make me think of Hypno-Toad from Futurama... Hypno-Cookies? ;o)

  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature (nice and soft!)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups plain flour

  • 1 x mixing bowl
  • An electric beater
  • A flour sifter
  • A wooden spoon
  • 4 x brekky bowls (or four small bowls)
  • Cling wrap
  • Extra flour for kneading/rolling etc
  • Four colours of food colouring (I'm using yellow, green, blue and red).
  • A large cutting board or flat (CLEAN!) bench surface

It will also help if you have a kitchen sink full of warm water ready to rinse your hands in as you go....

In a mixing bowl  place your softened butter and sugar and using an electric beater, beat butter and sugar together until it looks light and fluffy! Add in your egg and vanilla and beat it all together so everything is all mixed in. Sift your flour into the big bowl with the butter. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour until it's mostly combined (just so the flour and butter mixture is stuck together)

Take 4 brekky bowls, and divide your mixture evenly between each bowl. Pour a little flour onto your flat surface then tip the mix from one bowl onto your bench and knead it until it forms a soft dough.
Poke your finger into the dough to make a small hole and add in 5-7 drops of your first colour. This is the fun part.... put a little flour on your hands and squish your dough between your hands (like playdough!!) until all the colouring is mixed into the cookie dough!

Next take some cling wrap and tightly wrap up your ball of dough.

Repeat this process for the other 3 other bowls of cookie dough mixing in a new colour to each batch.
Place all your wrapped up balls of dough into the freezer for 10-15 minutes until it firms up enough to roll out. You could put it in the fridge but I find it takes a little long that way... the freezer is much quicker! Just be sure to set a timer so you don't forget about them! You don't wanna do that, trust me hehe!

  • Baking paper or Greaseproof paper
  • A rolling pin
  • Extra flour for kneading/rolling etc
Preheat oven to 160 degrees (Celsius guys!!)

For the next bit, before taking the dough of the fridge, make sure you have your rolling pin handy, a bit of extra flour for rolling and a large sheet of baking paper.

Take your dough balls from the freezer. Unwrap one and sqeeze it a little between your hands to re-soften it just a little bit. Roll out one colour on your floured surface about 1/4cm thick.

Repeat with the other three colours. As you roll each piece out, lay it on top of the last cookie dough sheet on the baking paper til you have a flat stack of coloured doughs. Using the rolling pin, roll over the layers a few times to get them firmly pressed together. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to let it firm up a bit.

Take out the sheet of dough from the fridge and using a sharp knife trim up the layers into a rectangle.
Starting at one end, begin to tightly roll up the layers til you end up with a big coloured rolled up sausage of cookie dough! Roll up the cookie sausage in cling wrap tightly and pop in the fridge for 5 minutes. Unwrap the dough and using a sharp knife, cut off slices about 1/2cm thick and place slices onto the baking tray.

Bake cookies for 20 minutes. The cookies won't brown and they will be very soft when you take the out at the end of baking time, that's perfectly fine! They will harden up as they cool :o) Leave them on the baking tray a little while before using a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely! And guess what? We're done!!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Cow with Guns

I couldn't think of anything to include in a blog post today, so here's a funny song.
There are a few little naughty words in there... just sayin'
It cracks me up everytime!!

Recipe for RAINBOW COOKIES will be here tomorrow too... see you then!
Enjoy the song ;)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A post full of Beaker

I'm supposed to be decluttering my living space this week (or at least making a start on it) and looking at DIY storage solutions to keep things a little tidier but I was so busy running around yesterday in the cold air that I think I've made myself sick. My face has been flushed and hot all day and I just feel completely zonked and worn out so there won't be any galavanting around on a cleaning crusade today by the looks of it. I've spent the day so far watching Season 5 of House and working on my crochet ripple blanket (which doesn't appear to be growing any bigger by the way!) and generally feeling like a giant pile of unicorn poop; only less colourful and more poop-y. Perhaps that was the wrong analogy but you get the idea. I'm fever-y (or whatever) and otherwise incapable of performing any other task that involves moving from this lounge.

So instead of actually making my home not quite so covered in crap, and indeed instead of compiling a heap of ideas on storage and decluttering etc I am going to fill up this post with pictures of Beaker for no reason other he is awesome. A good use of a blog post? I think so.
Source: via Tash on Pinterest

Source: via Tash on Pinterest

Source: via Rischel on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Monday, 20 August 2012

FLASHDANCE CURLS for the win! Busy weekends, photography and fun hair do's!

I am completely pooped today! Another practice photo shoot, skating, bowling (both of which I sucked at), dinner with a friend, many many games of Labyrinth, 2 hours and 45 minutes of Sing Star and three nights of not being in bed until after midnight! I don't think I've done quite so much in one weekend in..... I don't even know when! How old and boring does that make me feel!?! And I got absolutely NO housework OR gardening done! It was all fantastic fun though :o)

A HUGE thankyou to my model, Cerry for volunteering on Saturday!! These are just a teeny weeny selection of photos from the shoot! Ain't she just the cutest thang? You can check out the rest of the photos at Pretty Things Art and Photography if you'd like!

I uploaded a few photos of my watercolour paintings too! Go check them out and tell me what you think!

Oh! And I posted my Round 6 granny squares today to their mystery location! This exchange has been oodles of fun, it's fantastic receiving a pair of unique crocheted or knitted squares in the mail with no idea of where they came from!
This is Labyrinth...sooooo much fun! It's seriously an awesome board game!

Tomorrow morning at 9am I have my last practice Portfolio shoot and then *SQUEEE* I can do my price list and actually start (hopefully) getting a little bit of business! I hope I'm good enough, I'm certainly not qualified but I don't think that matters much these a hobby I mean. If I was wanting to go into it professionally I would be getting a hold of that Diploma in a heart beat (and when I win Lotto coz there is NO WAY I could afford it at the moment) I have absolutely no idea what to charge but I guess with a coffee (or two) and a bit of thought I can probably think of something..... I don't really want much, just enough to cover the batteries in my camera and the time editing really :o) Is that ok do you think? People tell me I undercharge for my drawings too, but if I'm not a professional I don't see why I should charge someone a lot of money for something...I want to stay as affordable to everyone as possible!

Hmmmm what else... oh yes! My Pinterest hair experiments! My aim was to test out if this.....

and this

would work! So I did! And here's what happened! Will braiding your hair and running a straightening iron over each braid a few times get you waves in thick hair? Nope, not really....not unless you're willing to put a BAZILLION little teeny weeny braids in and personally that's a tad too much effort BUT will putting your hair in braids whilst your hair is damp, letting it dry for an hour or two AND THEN running over each one a few times with a straightening iron work? Sure will!!! And they'll hold nicely too! See? SUCCESS!!

 Onto the next experiment.... FLASHDANCE curls! Now I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for curly hair.... I LOVE big bouncy curly hair do's and they are just soooo me! So this one I was super excited to try out! Soo I did this...

Before I went to bed I put my hair into little wormies whilst my hair was damp, and bobby pinned the crap out of them to hold them down (I have UBER thick hair)...

Had THE WORST night's sleep trying to get comfortable on all those hard little bobbles and the next day...

I quickly went over my whole head with a hair dryer to set them a little more, then I took out the bobby pins and had these really cool tight little springs for hair! I carefully pulled them apart and VOILA! FLASHDANCE curls!! Was I totally in love them and feel like a million bucks? I sure was!! And I sure did!! Was it worth the terrible night's sleep...probably not, BUT I feel like next time I try this I'll work it out so that the uncomfy bobbly things are on top of my head and not in the way when I sleep. ANOTHER SUCCESS!!

So if you are like me and have super thick hair but still want to try out some fun experiments, these two methods are fantastic! If you happen to come across another hair do on Pinterest (or wherever!) you love but aren't sure about it in your thick hair, email it to me! I'll test it out for you, blog about it and share it with everyone else! :o)
So now...I'm going to trot off and do some research for tomorrow mornings' outdoor shoot, find something comfy to wear and get started on some 'to do' lists for the EPIC declutter and organisation adventure I'll be doing to my flat soon! Stay tuned for more on that! I'll be sharing my favourite DIY storage and declutter solutions, creating a few of my own and generally cutting the crap out of my living space so it feels more like home and I can take pride in it instead of resenting it and leaving everything all icky. Sounds like a plan right!?

Nighty night!!!