Challenging Arts & Crafts

Vintage fabrics and Winter Chaos

During my flight back to homebase, my thoughts were concentrated on what it´s like to be in a cold house like ours. It was our first time to experience such a problem.

It was cold outside and we`re having freezing temps.. I´ve been taking care of my chaos at home since arrival. Chaos that I´ve had left before flying to Spain a couple of weeks after mom in-laws funeral four months ago.. The flight was booked and there´s no way to have a refund of the tickets!

It was a catastrophic arrival in Vienna. Our Vienna flight had been an hour delayed in Malaga and so was the baggage claim that took us waiting for about 45 minutes. In addition to that, the temperature outside was -6°C/32°F.

Then, we arrived home only to find out that the gas was really cut-off, the freezer in the kitchen broke down and all contents defrosted!!! The fridge´s motor didn´t run because of icy temperature in the kitchen, there was no heating!!! We would normally keep the gas for the boiler running so the heater would run to have a constant temp. of 18°C. But the Gas company changed the gas meter into a digital one, they had to cut-off the gas connection at the time when we were not home.

As agreed while in Spain, the gas technician came and made the connection. It took 3 days for the house to return to temp. of 21°C. We were so tired including Lily that we all slept with double duvets and pilesand piles of woolen blankets.

I didn´t like to go out , the temperatures outside were killing me, it was way -9°C , but it I had to go food shopping, update bank account and get prescriptions from the doctor ...My goodness (!) there were simply a lot of things to take care of.  We were away for 100 days in a row!

Food shopping was the first errand I did buying lots of fruits and veggies.
I planned to cook or bake comfort foods and yes, this was what I had in mind at that time. 
I was longing to have the roasted cherry tomatoes I used to do in summer when my container garden produced these wonderful veggy. If you want to roast Cherry Tomatoes,  you can get the recipe here

I also baked one of our comfort delish foods below..... Baked Sprouts and Klobasse.

Baked Sprouts and Klobasse...hmmm!
For us, one comfort food on a gray gray winter day! Here, the steps to prepare it:

1.  I cooked brussel sprouts in salted water for 10 minutes.. set aside.
2. fried 1 clove crushed garlic, add cut red onions, sliced mushroom, cut leek ,     cherry tomatoes and the brussel sprouts, mixed well.. then transferred all in a baking dish, add 4 salted and peppered beaten eggs. Mix well and add grated parmesan cheese as topping.  Bake at 180 degrees about 30 minutes or til the eggs are fully cooked. 
 Serve right away.

I thought of what I´d do once I get back ...and I ever wondered where to put all the things mom in-law left.. At any rate, the craft room upstairs was my storage room at that time.

And so I already had quilt projects in mind using Oma´s vintage fabrics above..I still wondered how much time and effort will I have to be able to use all these stuff?!

Oma kept these vintage luggages. I love them, they are so sturdy and can store so many things like the yarns that I have been buying whenever there was a sale.  

Finally, our daily living is now back to normal and I hope it will continue 
til we leave for Spain again. So even if we have freezing temps outside 
we´ll keep on moving!

Thank you all for being here, 
Happy weekend everyone!

Andalucia - 100 Days

Now that I bade farewell to my corporate world officially, I divide my time between Vienna and Southern Spain. We live in Axarquia a couple of months of the year to escape the cold days in Central Europe.

Axarquia is 
a region in Andalucia composed of many traditional townships and municipalities that grow wine, avocados and mangoes. In Winter, Southern Spain is warmer by about 10 °C than most northen countries in Europe and so a lot of Northerners flock to this side of the world.

So what have we done during our stay here? What have we accomplished?
I finally found the wall plate I´ve been looking for  that I intended for the 

fireplace.. It´s andalucian in design. 

Our second home needs a new kitchen and since we have more time now, 
 we were 
able to install a new tiny kitchen after planning it for almost a year. We could
have done this long time ago , but our previous stay had been too short.
I had to get the taller cupboards on top that they almost reaching the ceiling. 

The kitchen 
maybe that tiny but I have all the space I needed to store those 
things not frequently used. It´s not the traditional andalucian kitchen though, 
but everything is there for me to cook properly.

With just a couple of weeks of rain and cloudy skies, we´ve had almost 100 days of 
beautiful weather which was far better  than the one back home. There was 
almost drought in Southern Spain last summer because it didn´t rain and the lakes 
were at its lowest levels. 

The farmers must have been rejoicing and praising God for a week of rain in 
November. Yes, the farmers needed the rain, we understood their feeling (!!!)...we 
were once avocado growers ourselves having about 300 trees that were thirsty 
all the time. 

Once settled after arrival,  we often visited our german friend of almost 20 years... I love her matured garden. She has many varieties of cacti and succulents and lots of aloe veras (photo above) and she has a green thumb and everything seems to grow anywhere in her place once she gets hold of anything green. She gave me all these newbies (without roots) to plant in my yard and I started setting-up my cactus garden . A few succulents without roots ( photo below) have grown since I planted them last year in April.  


The photo above shows the cactus garden in progress the back of this raised bed is a stone wall that is yet to be finished. Some of the stones were gathered in the nearby areas of the plot and mind you...they were heavy to carry, but thanks to the wheelborrow. I wanted to do the whole garden myself without help so I can claim to have done it alone....Lol! 

 We will come back soon in a couple of months and hopefully I´d finish my stone wall and the cactus garden.

The Christmas season in Spain is always quiet. I guess the spaniards have a different way of celebrating it. In my home country, the Philippines, people are very religious. We go to church rain or shine and celebrate the Holy Mass. 

Everyone pays attention to the Misa de Gallo, a catholic mass that starts at the very early morning of Dec. 16 -24 and ends at midnight with a mass at "Noche Buena" which is the Christmas eve. 
I miss those days of our traditions.

Speaking of food on Christmas Eve, the austrian tradition is to eat roasted goose with red cabbage for dinner. I have roasted one and we ate it for lunch since this would be too heavy for dinner.

It´s the same procedure with our New Year celebration, we ate the heavy food for lunch
and opted for a steak with lots of braised vegetables... Finger foods were there for the evening eaten while streaming Amazon/Netflix movies to be able to stay awake, til the countdown began.

The finger foods consisted of baguette topped with various sausages, ham, various cheese, veggies and salad greens with mayonnaise, egg and liver spread as well as hummus.

Lastly, I have finished what I was aiming for and that is the toile de jouy  curtain I 
made (you can read the story here ) for the staircase area.  

It was time to prepare for our flight back to homebase. 

This blog is linked-up to :
Feathered Nest Friday

Crispy Zucchini Tart

Hello everyone! 

I have here a different method of cooking zucchini and I develop it into a very simple but a very yummy tart experience. You may not believe this, but  I have used the same ingredients for the Zucchini Crunchies that I posted about 3 days ago. Same ingredients and almost the same method of preparation and it´s exactly what I used for the fillings of this tart. The only difference is....I used a Filo Pastry Dough for a crispy tart. Come and have a go on this recipe, you´ll love it!

Zucchini Tart

2 ready made Filo pastry dough
4 med zucchini, grated
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 cups bread crumbs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese  or gouda cheese 
2 eggs, 1 egg yolk to brush the top of the pasry dough
1 tsp ground cummin (optional) 
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
2 tsps salt 

Instructions: Preheat the oven at 190°C

1.  In a bowl, grate the zucchini, add salt, carefully combined with your hands 
    and let it stand for about 20 minutes. The salt will help release the liquid 
    from the zucchini.

2. Place a clean cloth in another bowl and pour zucchini wringing out its liquid   
    until all water is squeezed-out, discard the liquid.

3. Place zucchini in a bowl, add the onions, breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, eggs, 
   garlic powder, ground cummins (optional) and pepper. Mix well until the 
   ingredients are well blended.

5. Roll-out the 1st pastry dough, do not remove the paper lining. With a spatula, 
    spread the zucchini mixture onto the dough carefully covering it until 
   about 3 cm from each of the four sides. Roll-out the 2nd pastry dough and cut 
   4 strips at 3cm each, set aside. Cut 1 cm strips and arrange these on top of the 
   zucchini (see photo below) as grids. Place the 4 bigger strips on each side to close    edge of the tart. Prick the dough with a fork to prevent bubbling.


6. Brush the pastry dough with battered egg yolk  and place the tray in the 
   middle oven rack. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the tart becomes crispy 
  and golden brown in color. Can be served as a snack or main dish

Happy Baking!!!

Zucchini Crunchies- Falafel Art

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you´re all having a good start of 2017. We celebrated the countdown
here in Andalucia quietly. Our New Year´s eve had been really very peaceful. There were not much fireworks in the area where we live and probably that´s because municipalities in Southern Spain have cut public spending. 

Today, I have a recipe that has been proven very delish at home and it´s so easy to make.
This recipe is similar to the arabic dish Falafel, though the main difference 
is that this is 
made of  grated zucchinis instead of the usual ground beans or chicpeas.

I sure hope that this would make you want to eat more. I have two methods of
making this dish as follows....
1. by deep frying... you have to fry the balls under a medium heat for about 7 minutes 

2. and if you choose to bake,  preheat the oven and bake at 190°C for about 25 minutes 
    turning sides to get that golden brown color. In this recipe, I chose to bake them.

Zucchini Crunchies - Falafel Art

4 med zucchini, grated
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 cups bread crumbs

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese  or gouda cheese 
2 eggs

1 tsp ground cummin (optional) 
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
2 tsps salt 

Instructions: Preheat the oven at 190°C
1.  In a bowl, grate the zucchini, add salt, carefully combined with your hands 
    and let it stand for about 20 minutes. The salt will help release the liquid 
    from the zucchini.
2.  Place a clean cloth in another bowl and pour zucchini wringing out its liquid until 
     all water is squeezed-out, discard the liquid.
3. Place zucchini in a bowl, add the onions, breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, eggs, 
   garlic powder, ground cummins (optional) and pepper. Mix well until the 
   ingredients are well blended.
5. Using a table spoon, scoop the mixture onto your hands and shaping it into a ball. 
6. Place all shaped balls in a baking pan lined with baking paper… bake fore 
   25 minutes turning sides of each piece until lightly brown in color.  
   Serve hot or cold, as snack or side dish...

YOGURT DIP (optional)
A Yogurt Dip is a good addition to this dish if you want a bit of the 
mediterranean flavor. Below are the ingredients, you just have 
to combine them  thoroughly and refrigerate until further use.

150 ml plain greek yogurt, choose the lighter one with less fat

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove crushed garlic
1 dash of dried dill 

salt and pepper, according to your taste


Have a good start of your week!

Toile de Jouy Curtains for the Staircase

I´m back in Spain and my home sweet home needed a few upgrading as far as interior is concerned…so to speak. I´ve been postponing to make a few soft furnishings but the curtains in this staircase area need to be done before we go back to home base. The thought of having blue and white curtains in the area excited me. It´s a color combination I always want to use in my home.  

Down the coast I went and tried the first curtain store…too expensive, they only have  catalogs to choose from for an order. In other words fabrics were not in stock and I would have to wait for a few days for my order to arrive… I want the materials now before enthusiasm in sewing the curtains fades away. Well, besides the time factor, the fabrics I liked had been too pricey anyway. The second shop, which is small in size, is just a few steps away from the expensive shop and the prices of the fabric there are always reasonable…

So, I decided I want to buy a fabric in blue and white since I´ve got a few blue and white plates hanging on the wall. I´m into eclectic decorating, I have an american Quilt Sampler also hanging on the wall,  the plates are spanish … what fabric to get???

And when entering the small shop,  there it was, I saw a roll of blue and white toile de jouy in cotton and standing at one corner of the store. A love at first sight!!! I found my dream fabric and right away, asked the saleslady to cut 3 meters ... And oh, (!!!) the width of fabric in  Spain is 280 cm, double the width compared to the ones I buy inVienna. It was my lucky day, indeed!

I used a curtain band that is pencil pleated. I have used this almost in all the curtains I made for all window treatments of my home. It was sewn on the back of the curtain and pulled the strings according to the size needed. . I found the bargain hooks from a Chinese bazaar. The curtain holder is a black metal with a fleur de lys pole-ends that match the French Toile fabric. 

By basting beforehand, the curtains are easily sewn and the finish is more
professional once the sides are ironed.

Additional ceramic and glass lamp found at the flea market  in Vienna that
complimented  the curtains and the plates

 The blue and white wooden shelf was constructed by me...The blue corniche on top had been remainders of the ones used for the kitchen installation. 

My corporate world is now set-aside, and as an official retiree,  there are no stress  to deal with, so I took my time to do the curtains slowly. The two windows got their treatments and the way I see them , they look perfect!

This blog has been linked-up to :
Feathered Nest Friday

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