Sunday, 29 January 2012

Friday, 27 January 2012

Cory's Super Delicious Amazing Salad

This ain't no wimpy salad...

If you're looking for a delicious lunchtime salad that doesn't leave you hungry for more or feeling like you just ate a bunch of water, here is a flavourful and yummy salad that I've been eating for years when I don't feel I'm getting enough greens.


Iceberg lettuce
Kidney beans in chilli sauce
Cheddar cheese (mature is best!)
Tortilla chips
Ranch Dressing

Now it's not the healthiest salad (it's a bit high on the salt content), nor the least fattening, so if you're looking for a 'diet' salad you may want to alter this one a bit.  But it really is supremely delicious.  Start by tearing up the iceberg lettuce and sprinkling over a lot of bite size chunks of cucumber.  I ran out of cucumber when I went to make this so I substituted celery, and tomato is also nice.  Then liberally spoon over the kidney beans.  When I lived in Canada I used Heinz Chili Style Beans, but in the UK there is a Sainsbury's brand that does nicely.  Next crunch and crumple over with the tortilla chips.  Salted ones taste that much better, but you can do without the extra salt if you're so inclined.  Then grate a bit of mature cheddar cheese.  Then, if you can find any (it's rare in the UK!), pour on a few tablespoons' worth of ranch dressing.  If you can't find any ranch at the shops, you can substitute and creamy dressing types - creamy garlic, blue cheese, or ceasar.  Don't add too much though, or it all gets a bit too salty.

Voila!  When the ranch dressing marries with the chili beans sauce, the taste is amazing.  And if you want to add even more flavour, this salad is good spicy: you can add a bit of hot sauce, or even a few spoonfuls of salsa!  Delicious and filling!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Self-publishing Oniline: Amanda Hocker, the woman who has sold over 1.5 million books online

As a person new to the self-employed game, coming across this article in The Guardian was both exciting and inspiring.  I'm not hoping to sell 1.5 million bookshelf necklaces (I think my fingers would fall off), but it's so motivating to read that people really can make their way doing something creative that they love.

Amanda Hocker is an author of teen fiction, and struggled to get her work published for years.  Then, needing some extra cash, she published her work online through Amazon, and other similar online publishing sites that made her novels available for download on various e-readers for a few dollars.  They turned out to be extremely successful, and Amanda was able to quit her day job and turn to writing full time!

New technology like e-readers and being able to self-publish digitally online has really changed the way authors can make their work available to the world - just like online craft sites like Etsy, have helped crafy people like me get into the business!  I really enjoyed this article and hearing about Amanda's successes.  I can only wish for half that success myself, and I'll be more than pleased...

Sunday, 22 January 2012

This is brilliant!  I noticed a lot of hits on my Etsy page were coming from a site called that I had never heard of... I typed in the address and immediately saw two things I love: yarn and llamas!  Instant fan.

Anyways, Ravelry appears to be a site for knitters and crocheters to share their patterns and projects in an online community!  It looks really fun and I intend to get to know it a bit better...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Crochet Edged Handkerchiefs

I've changed my mind about my first sewing project!  I'd like to start with something both easy and practical, and I found this idea at Craft Passion which looks perfect and sweet.  Handkerchiefs would be immensely useful I imagine, since all winter I go around sniffling.  Tissues are used up by the purse-load, and when you think about it, it's not very environmental.  Plus, I'd love to be able to make these as gifts for people, and it's a medium to practise my crocheting and learning to embroyder on!  It's perfect :)  Here are the instructions if anyone wants to craft these cute hankies along with me (or go to the website for a tutorial inclusing pictures:

1. Cut out a square of fabric for your handkerchief.  9" x 9" is the usual size for a women's hanky, and 12"x12" for men.

2. Double fold in the edges to make a hem, press with an iron, and zigzag stitch along them. 

3. With a large needle and crochet thread, blanket stitch around the perimiter of your hanky.  This will let you anchor your crochet stitches to the handkerchief.

4. To crochet around the edge, follor the pattern of chaining three, and then single crocheting at the middle of a blanket stitch.

If my instrictions aren't clear enough, take a look at Craft Passion's blog and use the photo tutorial to help!  I'll let you know if mine turned out ok with pictures...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Learn to Crochet: Crochet a Granny Square

Every year around the Christmas season (usually early enough to make some gifts), I re-learn how to crochet.  I really prefer crochet to knitting because it is easier, faster, and you get more out of your ball of yarn.  Here is the series of videos I used this Christmas to learn to make 12 large granny squares (6 a burnt orange and 6 white) which I stiched together to make a blanket for my husband:

If you watch these videos and pick up some yarn and a crochet hook yourself, I bet you'd be able to make something nice yourself this evening!  I challenge you! :)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Cory is a fan: Layla Amber Handmade Creations

I grew up with budgies as pets.  My grandmother was very keen on them and trained them to talk well, and my mother also liked them although ours never seemed to talk so much.  Budgies are so sweet, and I love it when they sit on your finger and give you kisses (nibbles).

That's why when I saw these sweet little budgie studs at Layla Amber, I fell in love!  Her shop is full of cute jewellery items like this, including hair clips, bunting necklaces, and other hand drawn surprises.

Tea and biscuits also make an appearance with the birds, as do nautical themed items!  I think my favourite, though, have to be the sweet little budgies that make me think of much loved family pets.

Here are some other examples of the items in her Etsy shop:

Friday, 13 January 2012

Conquering America... and the world!

One thing that makes me happy is to look at the addresses from the many people that purchase my jewellery from around the world.  And because I'm a bit sad, I like to keep track of where all those people are from... and if you're interested, I thought I'd share!

Now most of the people that purchase from my shop are from the US.  And with 50 states, there's lots of interesting addresses to watch out for!  Here's the map of all the Coryographies wearers in the USA:

Look at all that red :)  It looks like there's about 18 states to go, maybe I'm going to have to think of an incentive to get a few more states on board!

And here is the world map - after the US, most of my customers seem to be from Canada, Australia, and here at home in the UK.  But many other countries have made appearances, such as Bulgaria, Japan, Sweden, Brunei...

It's so great to think that something I've put heart and time into might be being enjoyed so far away by someone :)  It gets me a bit sentimental!


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New Bookshelf Necklace: Gothic

Introducing another new bookshelf necklace design!  This one is crackled black with silver underneath.  The books are in a black white and red colour scheme.  A bit dark and romantic perhaps?

Monday, 9 January 2012

New Bookshelf Necklace: Tea Shop

I've introduced a new bookshelf necklace to my Etsy shop!  Well... not technically new, since I made this design about 6 months ago, and then made just one and sold it.  But someone requested I make another recently, and I decided to start making them made-to-order!

My jewellery reflects things in life I love, like sushi, books... and it's natural that tea is incorporated somewhere!  This bookshelf is a bright sunny yellow, and the inside back board is a light pink.  I made tiny teapot and teacup with saucer to place on the shelves in white polymer clay as well.  It sells for £30 plus shipping.  Taadaa! 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

January Sale Reminder!

Just a quick reminder to let everyone know they get 5% off Coryographies items with the coupon code JANUARY.  Everyone who purchased something from my shop in 2011 will also get a secret coupon code to recieve 10% off this month!  If you haven't recieved the message let me know :)  Only 2 people have used the codes so far, so take advantage of the deals...!  I feel like a used car salesman ;)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Cory is a fan: mymimi

Mymimi is such a sweet shop on Etsy... adorable decor pillows in so many designs!  I tend to love the animal ones:
But I think this one is my favourite!!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Picalilli Paradise!

One of the gifts for my husband for Christmas this year was one of his favourite pickled condiments - picalilli!  Now I never heard of picallili before I moved to Britain, and it might just be a uniquely British food.  It's a yellow mustardy pickley thing sort of like a chutney that you can eat with breads and cheeses, given its bright yellow colour because of the tumeric it's made with.  I thought I'd give it a try and surprise my husband (who is a much better cook than I am, so is difficult to please in the kitchen!)

I used a mixture of a bunch of different recipes (as I tend to do - maybe that is why my husband is such a better cook than I am?), but here is one of the ones I drew from:

  • 2kg washed, peeled vegetables - select 5 or 6 from the following: cauliflower or romanesco cauliflower, radish, green beans, cucumbers, courgettes, green or yellow tomatoes, tomatilloes, carrots, small silver-skinned onions or shallots, peppers, nasturtium seed pods
  •  100g fine sea salt
  •  60g cornflour
  •  20g ground turmeric
  •  20g English mustard powder
  •  20g ground ginger
  •  1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  •  2 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  •  2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  •  1.2 litres cider vinegar
  •  300g granulated sugar
  •  100g honey

1. Cut the veg into small, even, bite-sized pieces. Place in a large colander over a bowl, and sprinkle with the salt. Mix well, cover with a tea towel and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, then rinse the veg with ice-cold water and drain thoroughly.
2. Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, ginger, mustard seeds, cumin and coriander to a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar. Put the rest of the vinegar into a saucepan with the sugar and honey and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the blended spice paste, stir well and return to the pan. Bring gently to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes to allow the spices to release their flavours into the thickening sauce.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold the well-drained vegetables into the hot, spicy sauce. Pack the pickle into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately with vinegar-proof lids. Leave for about 6 weeks before opening. Use within a year.

Makes 6 x 340g jars

I used quite a lot less of the ingredients used above, and roughly halved the recipe as well (making one large jar!)  I chose cauliflour (the one must-have), green pepper, onion, carrot and gherkins as the veg to use in the recipe (didn't have a clue where to find tomatillos where I live!).  I also used cider vinegar that another recipe called for, and I soaked the veg in pickling vinegar overnight instead of using the seasalt method.  I think if I did it again I would use a clear vinegar as the cider vinegar (while it probably tastes nice) makes it a darker colour instead of the fluorescent yellow we're used to!  I also used prepared English mustard instead of powdered, as I forgot our powdered mustard had expired recently and had been thrown out :(

It seemed to me to be the most difficult recipe I've followed to date, but that's due to not making many complicated things before and leaving the cooking to the husband!  But it was all straightforward and a lot of fun, if you don't mind your house smelling of pickling vinegar for two or three days.

It hasn't yet been 6 weeks (or 4 as other recipes say to leave it for), so I can't report on the taste, but I'll let everyone know how it turns out!


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

I am a Spark Person (?)

I am a Spark person.

I don't have a weight problem - and my life's already an adventure.  But a couple months ago, I joined a weight-loss/fitness website called, and I've really enjoyed it!  I've always been thin ('bony' is probably the more accurate term), but I'm getting older now *cough* and I know it's only a while before my metabolism can't handle the amazing food my husband cooks for me all the time and I start to pack on the pounds.  And I desperately need to be more active if I'm going into jewellery making full time for the next while, and my previous workout of walking up London escalators is no longer in swing!

So now, in the spirit of January and getting into shape yadda yadda, I thought I'd share this site with you all, and let you know that I'll be with you all, trying to lose the Christmas pounds like everyone else (and before you say I didn't gain any Christmas pounds, I definitly did!  I did a pre- and post- Christmas weigh in!)

The thing I like best about this site is that it has so many instructional videos, and a lot of workouts that you can do in your own home, in a small space, without any equipment.  And it gives you a fitness tracker, goal setting devices, calorie counter etc so you can feel motivated by using all the gadgets (well I do anyway!).  And it's cheesy, but for me it works, every day you get to spin a wheel and collect points towards trophies - I like that sort of motivation towards consistency!

So if you're looking for a way to start a new health regime this 2012, comes recommended!  Oh yeah, it's free too.

Off to do a 10 minute workout.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Cory is a fan: Bo Press Miniature Books

Another fan of tiny things, Patricia at Bo Press makes the tiniest, most detailed miniature books I've ever seen.  They're exquisitely made, and you can tell she's put a lot of love and energy into making these books on her Etsy shop.  Here are some examples:

And in addition to tiny bound and illustrated books, there are a number of intricate boxes and curiosities, including astronomical models that make me wish I had a lovely dark den with walls of leather bound books and glass cases of antiquarian collectables, so I could place this on my giant oak desk next to my magnifying glass and ink well:

Sunday, 1 January 2012

January Sales!

It's that time of year again... January Sales, and I thought I'd join in in the spirit of things by offering a few discounts on some of my items, along with some exclusive discounts for all the lovely people who purchased something from my shop in 2011...!

Anyone can use the special coupon code 'JANUARY' all through the month, for anything in my shop, to receive 5% off all your purchases :)

And as I mentioned, everyone who purchased from me in 2011 should have got a nice little message from me with a special coupon code for 10% off any orders they make for January!  Which is good when you think about how Valentine's Day is approaching fast...