Challenging Arts & Crafts

Simple Joys of Life





Hello friends!
I hope your weather is fine and not as crazy as ours, it´s so cold here 
in Vienna at almost  0°C in the morning.... it was even snowing  yesterday !!! 
In many Aprils ago, as far as I could remember, we were already 
sweating,  wearing shorts and T-shirts at this time of the month and 
enjoying the sun gardening in our backyard.

And because there weren´t much to do with this kind of weather, staying home
is the safer solution except that we have to walk Lily rain or shine.



Walking Lily gives me the chance to pick flowers ...any wildflowers that 
are available in our path..




 The 1st pic above shows wild lilacs I got from one of my walks with her.
I thought of putting them in those three blue bottles and arranged in
a row... do you love this style of arranging flowers?

And oh!.... those are mineral water bottles from our fave chinese restaurant in 
Southern Spain.  I love its pastel blue color so I brought them along to Vienna.
 I think that this is an 
amazing color contrast to the beautiful shades of the  
lilacs, know what I mean?!



These beautiful inexpensive ceramic eggs were found at the Saturday 
flea market for just a fraction of a cost. Hubby and I collect them.


.


 



The other day, I decorated this dull wall in the kitchen with some vintage plates
I've been keeping for a long time..the one on top right is actually
an oil painting of fruits  from hubby´s grandma.   I temporarily included it 
to complete the structure of the display until I find a ceramic plate 
that matches the whole scheme.

The figurines were made out of salt dough and are souvenir we got in Cyprus.







This week,  I also cooked this super yummy and delicious chinese  
noodles called Pancit Canton. It is always a mainstay of food at home and it 
tastes much better than the ones delivered right at your door. 
You can get my recipe here



These blooms were the first wildflowers I picked along a field near the 
golf course in our area.. I´m not even sure what the name is, 
I tried to google its name but I didn´t  find anything. 
Would you know how this is called?







Also this week, I started a new quilt that I ´ll be making into
pillowcases... I´ll keep you posted on the progress...




And lastly, because we didn´t have the sun and it´s still 
raining in our area, this tulip is still not opening since 4 days! 
We´re still waiting, waiting, waiting for the sun!

TGIF is coming up, enjoy your weekend!

Thanks for being here!

Linking this blog at:


Feathered Nest Friday

The First Lilacs of Spring 2017



They are just too early to bloom this year. It must have been the mild
weather that we´re  experiencing the last two months.



As far as I can remember, they come around the beginning of May, 
right on time before Mother´s Day.



We are lucky to be living near the borders of  Vienna and the Marchfeld Area in
Lower Austria were so many lilac bushes are available. It´s  where the 
Marchfelder farmers planted some of these lilacs in a row as blockers for 
harsh wind that could destroy their crops.



Lilacs would look lovely in any vases .... in the above photo, I used a 
crystal vase that made the blooms look elegant... whereas, the ceramic vase below
enhances a more rustic garden look...






I think I will have more reasons to gather more of these amazing flowers   
and make more beautiful arrangements. 
More updates will surely come along the way, I´ll cross my fingers. 

I hope you like the lilac arrangement I made for this blog.  

Thanks for dropping by !

xoxo,

Mercy

Linking this blog at:

Feathered Nest Friday
 




The Potted Tulips - Spring 2017



The buds finally opened last weekend after a row of stormy, rainy and cold 
three days that ended last  Friday.

Tulips are my fave Spring flowers because they are very easy to 
maintain and they always come out so beautifully!


The onions or bulbs I got last Fall were supposedly a variety of pink 
shades and  they should be so.... but oh, what a surprise!!!
the pop-up blooms are red and yellow tulips :-)))










I always keep each of the packaging after the bulbs are set in soil ... 
Anticipating what I planted the following Spring. 





Oh well, lessons learned, I will give care the next time I buy new packs.


The potted ones were 20 bulbs in a pack. And  
I planted  them so closed to each other so that the tulips will stand 
side by side as if they are in a huge flower vase. 




I think I achieved my purpose of having a huge bunch of tulips, 
as if they are really in a huge vase!
 They may not  be my fave pink ones.... but reds and yellows 
are just as beautiful !!! 

Thanks for taking the time to be here today!
Have a nice start of the week!

Linking this blog at:

Feathered Nest Friday



The Spring Chores - 2017






Happy Women´s Day everyone! 
Hope your day is fine and enjoyable!  I was telling my Bffs  that since it´s our day today, 
a shoutout for a relaxation for all women  should  be done around the world.  
Relax and put aside all stress, take time off to really,  really enjoy the day, go out with 
girlfriends, go shopping and use hubby´s credit card. LOL!
We deserve that, don´t we?!

My day today started with food shopping. We normally get fresh food every 
Thursday, but I have  important appointments tomorrow, 9th of March, 
so we did it today rather than Friday.







As we are moving towards Spring, we have been cleaning our
backyard the last days. I couldn´t believe that we´ve had so much fallen leaves 
and branches!  The ones that were left behind before we left for Spain have 
been the wild vines that were still green by end of September.



         

At any rate, now is the time to get excited!  Last Fall, I planted a mixture of 
big tulip bulbs and Allium. I´m so happy to see that their sprouts are now coming 
out and so are the other plants and the evergreens. 





Ako´s yellow rose bush is also thriving anew and  has many new branches at this 
time and oh so green! It´s amazing that this plant is very robust after 22 years. Each year,  it bears
plenty of  clusters of light to dark yellow flowers.  Can´t wait to see the first  blooms
 ´cause my vases are now waiting to be used for the bouquet arrangements.






The honeysuckles ( I have a pink and an orange)  are now slowly filling the  
rose arch. They normally bloom around May/June.


We´ve had beautiful blue skies the other day when we walked Lily in this wooded area 
near our home. We love walking in this place because Lily often meets other dogs 
more than her size and she´s loving it!



She´s  outsmarting bigger dogs by simply barking at them when
 they come too near  her nose or her butt!!! :-))) 
Of course, it´s like a predomenantly surprise attack on her part. The other
 dogs are simply careful...they never know what Lily´s
 going to do  next !!!




Oh my , I was surprise at what cravings can do to a person. We didn´t have the apple
tart for so long... good that there were apples left from last week´s 
food shopping and that prompted me to begin the process of baking.. I grab them all 
and started peeling!!!


 "Pronto"  the tart was quickly baked!!! 



Hubby said, this was the most delicious apple tart he has eaten so far
(from all my bakings) Ngek !!! 




This week , we went to visit hubby´s Oma and Mom in this cemetery..
The Grinzinger Friedhof ( 19th District , Vienna) is  the most famous cemetery in the city 
where  the rich and the famous are resting. Oma was not rich but was just lucky to have 
gotten hers in the 50´s. 



That´s all for today. 
Hope to see you here again
Thanks for taking the time to visit!

The DIY Garbage Bin

When you´re getting older and would like to do a DIY project like mounting a garbage can kit, 
you might find it hard to do such a chore. I,  for one,  haven´t been active myself in the last 
two years. I used to do a bit of carpentry works just like my dad. 



The other week, I drove to Ikea ( I have no affiliation whatsoever)  to get a new garbage 
container for my kitchen. There were not much  choice, and  I found only two options: one 
was a galvanized can with cover that you have to open and close manually.... and the other one, 
a hard black plastic that has a white base  that can be  attached below the sink. It´s with a 
telescopic metal that you can simply take in and out and this is 
what I chose and  will be talking about in this post.






The kit was easy to install if it wasn´t for that limited space under the sink where 
you have to move and screw everything in place. So I did everything myself 
and had to prove to hubby that I can do it alone. 

After a while, everything has been mounted and of course, I was happy 
and proud that I have done it without help,... Later in the evening, I had an abdominal 
muscle pain and couldn´t explain what the pain was about. I began to get scared!






                                                                   


I dropped dead on that afternoon doing the mounting... I found out that the muscle pains have 
been from the DIY work of the never ending bendings here and there.
The next day was a disappointment, I found out that I forgot to put two screws 
to make the base stable  .....hhhhhm, typically me!
I was damming it because I had to unmount my work and start all over again. 
Thank God, the muscle pain subsided a bit and I repeated the work today, 
I couldn´t be happier!




"... if the boys can do it, the girls can do it, too.." !!!

Thank you for dropping by!


Crispy Roast Meat - The Austrian Way




Oven-roasting has never been difficult in my household... in fact it is easy peasy! The austrians have a very traditional but delicious way to make a meat become so crispy with just little effort. 

I learned it from hubby´s grandma. She was a super cook, she baked cakes and cookies so delish even without a book or recipe on hand... it was all in her head!!! She knew every detail of how many cups of flour are needed or measurements of the spices to be used. I guess, I was lucky to have known some of her cooking secrets and this is one of those.  





Whatever meat you may want to roast the steps are always the same. Chicken, duck or goose are also among our favorites.. One exception though... the pork belly is treated differently only if the skin is included for a crispy roast. 

Here, just to show you a good example... I chose a pork belly with skin on the left and the one on the right was a rolled turkey in a net.  The very first thing that I do with the pork belly is to wash thoroughly then season with salt on all sides,  let stand for about 1/2 hour and boil  in a casserole for about 15 minutes with skin side on the bottom of the casserole until the skin becomes soft.

When boiling is over , the skin is cut crosswise and lengthwise making slits for the seasoning. I salt all the sides, add pepper, ground garlic and caraway seeds... I also add a tablespoon ( oprional) of soy sauce and sprinkle this on the surface , by using hand, the sauce is distributed evenly covering all the skin to give it brown color.

The rolled turkey can be bought at the supermarket already covered in net.. I prefer the one that is not spiced.
Again,  I used 1 tbsp.of soy sauce and the same seasoning as with the pork except for the caraway seeds. 





Roast bath...  Note: Preheat the oven a 200°C/ 392°F

I prepare this by using one of the following methods:..

1.  1 liter of beef broth/stock that you have made in advance. Here is a method from Simply Recipes on how to make  one proper stock... I make mine by boiling gently beef bones or veal bones for a long time with added salt and pepper and use this as roast bath., or...

2.  you can combine 1 liter of water, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp. ground pepper, 1 tsp. garlic powder and 2 tbsp soy sauce... or 

3. 1 knorr vegetable/ or beef broth dissolve in 1 liter of water ( the simplest method). 

Oven- Roasting: 
1. Place the seasoned meat on the oven tray, the pork belly skin facing up,  add the roast bath pouring it on the sides of the tray. 


2. Roast for about 1.5 hours pouring the liquid on the meat every 15 minutes . Add water to the roast bath from time to time so that liquid would not evaporate completely. The liquid bath will be used later as the sauce for this dish. 

 3.Turn meat sides every half hour and continue pouring liquid on the meat every 15 minutes so it doesn´t get dry.  After 1.5 hours of roasting time, the meat should be tender by then and the skin of the pork belly has all popped and burst and become crispy. Remove the meat from the tray as well as transfer the liquid to a sauce pan... Meanwhile, place the meat once more in the tray and roast for another 5 minutes to make it more crispy.



4. For the sauce, heat the pan under medium heat, add the liquid, adjust the quantity if necessary as well as  the seasoning and add 1 tbsp conflour dissolved in water mixing it all the time until well blended, remove from pan and serve the sauce in a separate bowl. 

 Cut the meat and arrange on a platter with the sauce . Goes well with rice or boiled potatoes.


Happy Cooking!