Saturday, 31 August 2013

Warming Houses :)

I went to a house warming today! I made a batch of scones, and a few little jars of jam and pootled over to Shazia's flat to meet her friends and to, I suppose, warm the place up.

Here's a photo of Shazia and her friends all piling in and helping themselves to scones:

I took the scones to Shazia her very own mixing bowl, hoping to inspire baking in her new home! :)

Want to know what's exciting? Remember a while back when I took a whole series of photos, smooshed them together and made a natural rainbow? Well, Shazia decided to take that and make something awesome:

239/365 - Zan discovers her own artwork on someone else's wall. 

I was so chuffed that this was made a reality! A canvas print of my photography! I feel a little bit silly actually! But ever so pleased! :) Wooohooo! :) Shazia wants me to sign it, but there were too many people at the flat today. Maybe next time though! Yay! :)

It was lovely meeting Shazia's friends at her new place today, and also catching up with my own. I guess it's called a house warming because you're warmed by the kindred spirits you have around you, who have come to celebrate your success. I also think it's a house warming because you warm to the host - the new home owner. I feel like I've gotten a better glimpse into Shazia's life, and it's nice. Yay! :) Happy house warming, Shazia - thanks for inviting me :)

Friday, 30 August 2013

My Very Own Mini Jam :)

My friend Shazia is having a house warming tomorrow so I thought I'd make her delicious treats to snack upon as her friends pootle about. An opinion poll (of 2, my mother abstained) suggested that I make scones which I thought was an excellent idea.

To give it an extra special touch, I also made my own jam! I've never made it before, so I looked it up thinking it would be difficult, but actually it was pretty easy and so much fun!

238/365 - Zan makes mini-jam!

It was soooo much fun making the jam, and so satisfying putting them in the little jars. I made the first one then ran around with it for a few minutes cos it was so cute! I think that there's a good chance that everyone's getting jam for Christmas because I'm totally making more! Haha. Yaaaay! :)

Of course, I had to make the scones too. Here's the photo of them:

I think there's 25 seperate scones downstairs. That's if noone's eaten one in secret...

Now I'm quite excited about the house warming! Mostly because I can stuff myself with scones smothered in clotted cream, butter and jam. I know, I know, I didn't go the extra mile to make my own clotted cream (which I have also tried making and it was fun but takes about 10 hours, and I really didn't want the hassle) but nothing really beats Rodda's clotted cream. I'm obviously also excited to see Shazia's flat and her friends too :)

So that's another thing to add to my repertoire of things I can make. Yay! :) Hoorah for jam, and hoorah for making stuff! :)

Thursday, 29 August 2013

DIY Postcards

When I was at uni the first time round, I collected free postcards. It was a thing back then, mostly for creative advertising, but I loved going to the cinema, or the student union, and picking up these free post-able items to send to my friends. My growing collection got a little out of control so I came up creative ways for a postcard cull. Apart from sending interesting ones to friends, I take them to play events for children to use them how they will, and occasionally make postcard books.

With the upsurge of digital advertising, my free postcards aren't as easy to come by, so I've started to make my own! I like them to be nice and sturdy so they survive the postal journey so I usually make it in with 3 layers of recycled materials and from bits of artwork that I've produced or forgotten about. I make them so often now that I thought I'd talk you through a Zan-Made Postcard today.

Here's what I made today:

237/365 - Zan makes Zan-cards!

This is a photo of all the things I used. Oh, that's a Pritt Stick. I think in the US you have Elmer's Glue but it's not as good as Pritt Stick. I've tried. Oh, and yes that is a sharp knife, and yes I have adult supervision, haha.

Each layer:
1) A pretty piece of paper for the design - this time I'm using unwanted wrapping paper, but sometimes I use my doodles. Recently they have mostly been robots doodles.
2) A piece of recycled card or thick paper - in today's postcards, I have used an old calender cover but I've also saved old greetings cards, magazine covers and ring binder dividers for future postcards.
3) A plain piece of paper to write on - I usually use left over pieces of paper from other projects.

All you have to do really is stick them all together. I find that it's easiest to make the plain piece of paper the right-ish size to stick onto the card, cut to size, then stick both layers onto the pretty layer. When it's complete, the postcard is nice and thick and you know that it's going to survive the postal trip. I made sure too by sending it to Australia and it survived! :) I love sending post, and I love sharing the stuff I make!

More of my handmade postcards are slowly making my way through letter boxes around the world. I hope you all enjoy them, and send photos of yourselves with them! :) Hoorah for post, and homemade postcards! :)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

My New Pet :)

My sister and brother-in-law bought me Paul Hollywood's Bread book for my birthday. It arrived in the post and I was very excited but I've only just round to using it today. And which recipe did I decide to start with? Starter dough! :)

240/365 - Zan gets acquainted with new pet.

Starter dough is used for making sourdough bread. Having pretty much mastering the white bread, I wanted to try making sourdough bread, but you can't really make it without the starter dough. Paul Hollywood recommended that I use grapes to start the dough, but I only had an apple, so I'm using that! :) I'm very excited because a starter dough needs to be looked after and needs feeding every few days, so it's like I have a new pet! :) Apparently you can put your pet yeast in a yeast hotel, where they look after it while you're on holiday or something. It's pretty funny really, so I wanted to try.

Here's a shot of my pet yeast with the bread book. I drew a line on the jar to show me how tall my yeast was when I started, yay! :)

I'm hoping that in a few days I'll have a starter dough that I can use to make a really cool loaf. I'm excited about my new baking adventures! :) Now I have a new pet, and new project ideas! Hoorah! :)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Flickr Flickr

Little White CurrantWhite CurrantsCotton Ball BloomsA Curly DrinkLittle SnowflakesSoftly Comes Spring
Niagara - Horseshoe FallsSun BeamsJubilations!British BuntingsBlue Skies and BuntingsLooking Up to Tulips
Flutterfly TooHello Lady :)Sunny FlowerLittle Furry RockLittle Yellow FlowersLeaves
Train TunnelOlympic StationTreasure in Spikey ShellSun Goes DownRainbow SwirlsPurple Whiskers
239/365 - Zan celebrates photos.
Today, I wanted to celebrate my photos. I don't do it often enough because I'm a bit shy about it. I know I know, I've been wedding photographer a few times now, but for some reason, I still get very nervous about sharing my pics. Anyway, here is a selection of my favourite and best photos from over the years. I didn't know that I could connect my flickr to my blog, but apparently you can so hoorah for extra connectivity, and hoorah for my photos! :)

Monday, 26 August 2013

Playing with Bees

After the excitement of the wedding on Saturday, and the adorable cupcakes, I thought I'd spend some quality time with some bees. The bees in the garden have been very busy, and I love watching them, but today, I was determined to get some good pics in. Here is a selection:

234/365 - Zan enjoys some time with the bees in the garden.
I wasn't quite close enough to this bee to get wing detail, so it looks like a flying blob, hahaha.

Look, this one's flying at me!

If you zoom up close, you'll be able to see it's fluffiness, and all the pollen all over it!

This photo is really cool. I think the bee was getting some juice from inside the un-opened flower, but it kinda looks like it's riding the flower!

I'm really pleased that I got to spend some time playing with the bees. They bumble around in the funniest way, and make me so happy! Happy happy bees, happy happy Zan! :) Yay for bees! :)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A Sunshine Drive

My wedding adventure finished in Stevenage yesterday, 3.5 hours drive away from home. Having said my goodbyes to the bride and groom I had a sunny journey back up to Manchester, stopping off briefly in Hitchin Old Town for lunch.

233/365 - Zan enjoys a moment of quiet in Hitchin before a long drive home.

I'm pretty glad that wedding season is over for the year - I've ran out of clothes and Zan power for more joyous occasions! Hahaha. Now that I'm home, I'm getting myself ready for the week ahead. Should be having a car boot sale tomorrow, and have various adventures planned for the rest of the week. Gonna rest up tonight and maybe watch some CSI. Haha. :)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Zan's Wedding Craziness 2013: Wedding the Sixth

I had the pleasure of being the photographer for Wai and James at their wedding today. It was an amazing day and there are lots and lots of photos. Here are some of my favourite moments:

PaperWai and PaperJames - really cool and creative! :)

This is an amazing array of cakes with the beautiful bride and the amazing groom! Hoorah! :)

232/365 - Zan plays photographer a woodland themed wedding :)
Look at the bee! Isn't it cute? This is my personal favourite photo of the day! :)

This is my friend Ian. I haven't spoken or seen him for 8 years, but catching up today felt like we hadn't missed a beat - it was wonderful to see him again! :)

Handmade cake toppers - Wai made the Mini-James, and James made mini-Wai! So thoughtful and cute! :) And they're having a smooch! :)

And here is me with the happy couple! Yaaay! :)

This wedding has been a wonderful end to my 2013 wedding adventure. This was the most creative, and unusual wedding with so many personal touches! I'm so pleased to be part of this wedding, and I am really chuffed for both of them. This wedding meant a lot to a lot of people, and brought their worlds closer together. It was really good fun and I think that every guest had loads of fun. :)

My biggest congratulations to Wai and James! They have absolutely brought my wedding adventure to a close with a bang and a giggle, showcasing yet again how wonderful weddings are, and how even after 6 this year, they are never boring! The highlights from today's wedding can join the first, second, third, forth and fifth! :) It was such a wonderful wedding, and a wonderful wedding year. Hoorah for weddings, and hoorah for Wai and James! :)

Friday, 23 August 2013

Freebie Fridays - cat food

Okay, so I don't have a cat, but I have friends that do and it was for this reason that I decided to get this week's freebie:

231/365 - Zan gains amusement through funny freebies :)
Hoorah for cat food! :)

The freebies aren't going to be as thick and fast in the next few weeks so there might not be much to report. But you never know. I might find something on my adventure down to Stevenage tomorrow for wedding number 6 :) Hehee.... Hoorah for freebies! :)

(And if you have a few minutes check out the Freebie Fridays Showcase! :) Woooo! :) )

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Faded Purple Blooms

Peeking curiously around my garden today, I found some purple things which I couldn't identify. At first glance, I thought they were tiny purple versions of the Chinese vegetables, pok choi.

230/365 - Zan discovers a little purple pok choi.

On closer inspection, I realised that they were purple flowers that had passed their peak awesomeness, and had fallen off the main plant that they were on, and turned into a mini purple pok choi. They look really pretty, and are a better purple now that they're dying, compared to when they were live and blooming.

Lots of little flower heads in a gorgeous shade of purple.

I'm really pleased at how well these photos turned out, capturing the colour of the flowerheads perfectly. Yaaay! :) I'm so happy! :) Yay! :)  I really really love this shade of purple. So do the Purple Monkeys - my college friends - who's namesake is for this very reason. Purple is the best colour, suitable for weddings, cake and dragons! :)

Hoorah for purple! :)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Spaceship of Cake

I had a rare meet up with my wonderful friend Nancy today and we went to sample the wonderful cakes at Slattery's Patissier and Chocolatier. I wanted to celebrate both of our birthdays because we weren't able to meet this year, so I thought we should do it in style. It is an exceptional place to go for celebrations of all sorts, but especially for dessert lovers, mostly because of the vast array of delicious creations, but also because of this:


229/365 - Zan admires the best display case ever!

I'd like to describe this as the Dome of Awesome, or Case of Magnificence, but I think I like Spaceship of Cake most, mostly because the whole glass dome slowly hums up and open to allow the waiter and waitresses to access cakes, tarts, mousses, trifles, tortes, slices.... ever. Then it slowly hums down to shut. It's the most elegant thing ever. And it's fascinating to watch.

I had lots of fun catching up with Nancy, and her mum and her niece. It was all really lovely, and we were completely stuffed after eating delicious savouries, and then lip smacking sweet treats. I don't get to see Nancy very often, but I want to make eat meet as memorable as possible. This one really was special. :) Hoorah for Nancy, and hoorah for celebrations! :)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Peshwari

Today, I met up with my good friends Lee and Shazia, and the freshly celebrated married couple J and Peki for a curry. This seems to be the tradition now, cos this happened after Angel's wedding too. Anyway.

Not many exciting photos this time though, just a photo of my favourite naan bread ever:

228/365 - Zan ate an entire peshwari naan and rejoices in a happy tummy.

I'm still super tired from the activities of the week, but it doesn't stop. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures and the final wedding of the year! Hoorah! :)

Monday, 19 August 2013

Post-Wedding Scones

Okay, I have to admit, yesterday's wedding was pretty epic. And pretty exhausting. I woke up, confused and dishevelled to an alarm that was genuinely alarming. My mum came to talk to me a few minutes later and she started laughing at my voice which was amazingly growl-y. Apparently, I wasn't ready for morning this morning.

Fighting forward, I struggled through a shift at work where my voice gradually returned to normal pitch and my smile came back. I came back home after 5 hours of selling video games slightly numb. Maybe I'm just tired? I have no idea. But I'm just imagining how tired the bride and groom were who were just as busy as me, but they were drinking too. Haha.

I rested up a while and did some desk based work before realising that I needed some comfort baking. So I watched an episode of CSI to gather strength, and then baked some scones during the next episode:

227/365 - Zan bakes some yummy scones.

They were only little, but they were delicious. This one is a cheese scone. I also did some cranberry/sultana ones for my mum cos she doesn't like the cheese ones.

Baking is such therapy. And cheese scones somehow have healing properties. My make my insides feel completely happy, and then makes me want cake. I don't think I have the energy to make cake now. I think I've gotten over the fog I had this morning, and I'm back to my normal self - hoorah!

So I guess I'd better give a hoorah for baking, and a hoorah for post-wedding scones! Nom nom nom! :)