Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Delicious summer lentil stew

I know summer isn't really 'stew' season, but I love them all year round.  And this lentil one seems lovely for a nice flavoursome evening meal.
This one is particularly nice because it's mega cheap!  I make it when I want something nice and I feel like cooking, but nothing too complicated.

All you'll need is:

1 can of lentils (any kind are nice, though puy lentils are my favourite - you can use dried lentils, but make sure you've soaked them for 24 hours)
1 large onion (or a bunch of shallotts are also nice)
1 courgette/zucchini (or chopped mushrooms, or cubed squash, or even sweet potato!)
1 small can of tinned ham ('s good, trust me here!)
1 cube of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of flour
water (the amount equivalent to the can of lentils or thereabouts)
Spices (I use thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf)

Soften the onions in a pot with some oil.  Add the chopped vegetables, and add spices such as thyme, rosemary, oregano if you'd like, and some pepper.  Make sure if you're using sweet potato or squash you boil it first and then add it, as you dont want it to take forever to cook through in the stew.  Add the can of lentils, and fill of the can with water and add this as well.  Give it a stir, and crumble in the stock cube.  At this point you can add a bay leaf.  Add in the tinned ham, cubed.  Then sprinkle over the flour to thicken the sauce, stirring it well and until there are no lumps left.  Bring this to a good heat.  Taste and see if it needs more spices - I wait until here to add more salt, as there is already a stock cube and ham and it may not need more.  Put the lid on and simmer for 45 minutes or so (or until you can't wait any longer!), and make sure you stir it once in a while.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Cory is a fan: Damson Tree Pottery

Damson Tree Pottery is another maker at In With the Old, the London shop that carries some Coryographies items like my bookshelf necklaces and teapot earrings!

Marieanne makes gorgeous handmade ceramic items from jewellery to tiles to coasters buttons.  My personal favourite are these lillypad coasters:

I can just imagine they look adorable set out on a table.  I usually dont like the look of coasters on the table but these area lovely and decorative, they'd cheer up a room and attract a lot of attention!  I bet they'd look great outdoors as well on an old wooden table for a summer dinner party.

Soemthing else that will attract attention are these daisy earrings:
I love their size!  So pretty and perfect for summer :)  Marrieanne has a pottery studio at the end of her garden, where she makes her pieces and fires them in her kiln.  She also teaches pottery classes and has worked as a sculptor.  If you're in the London (King's Cross) area drop by In With the Old
 and see her work for yourself!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Easy Peasy Ginger Beer

I wanted to make something special for my husband when he came home last month, after not seeing him for an entire 30 days!  That's what I get for marrying an archaeologist (though he did the same, and as of now I'm off in France!!).

I thought it would be nice to make something tasty - and although I'm not a big fan of ginger beer myself, I know he is, and this recipe sounded yummy!  It's one of Jamie Oliver's, and I love Jamie.

"Ginger beer is one of my favourite things in the world, especially blooming good in the summer when it's getting hot. I can't think of anything more sexy than having a big jug of iced ginger beer on the table with a barbecue on a hot day. The classic real ginger beers use a starter, and these are fantastic but slow, so here's my shortcut for getting amazing results taking hardly any time.

140g/5oz fresh ginger
4 tablespoons muscovado sugar
2 to 3 lemons
1 litre/1¾ pints soda water or sparkling mineral water
sprigs of fresh mint

First of all you need to grate your ginger on a coarse cheese grater – you can leave the skin on if you like. Put the ginger with its pulpy juice into a bowl and sprinkle in your muscovado sugar. Remove the rind from 2 of your lemons with a vegetable peeler, add to the bowl, and slightly bash and squash with something heavy like a pestle or a rolling-pin. Just do this for 10 seconds, to mix up all the flavours. Squeeze the juice from all 3 lemons and add most of it to the bowl. Pour in your fizzy water or soda water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then taste. You may feel that the lemons are slightly too sour, therefore add a little more sugar; if it's slightly too sweet, add a little more lemon juice. To be honest, these amounts are always a little variable so just follow your own taste. Pass the ginger beer through a coarse sieve into a large jug and add lots of ice and some sprigs of mint."
I found it needed a lot more sugar than this - and I mean a LOT.  Maybe it's casue I was looking for something much sweeter than he had in mind, or something resembling the ginger beer you get in shops.  Either way, I used all three lemons, and a mysterious unmeasured quantity of grated ginger.  That's how I roll in the kitchen.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Well, I'm off!

Ce ne sont pas mes valises!

Off I go for an entire month, another month this summer without my husband, but hopefully a month with sun (not that that will make up for it!) and an improvement in my French.

Remember my 15% off discount code to use while I'm away ('SUMMER15'), and I'll be back on the 12th of August to post and create any orders.  Make me work hard, everyone!

I'm already really looking forward to beyond this trip, when I return and get ready to move to Oxford with my husband.  Have I mentioned that I'm moving to Oxford?  I am!  My clever husband will be starting university there in October, and I can't wait to be in a town that I absolutely LOVE.

My husband was born in Oxford, and we were married in Oxford, and got to know it really well when his parents lived there for a few years and we visited often.  It always seems sunny.  And it's full of breathtaking architecture, bookshops, cafes, and has tons of plays and public lectures and things to do in the evenings.  For a massive nerd like me, it's like the capital of the nerd-kingdom.

Plus I can basically pretend I live in Harry Potter world, and buy a wand and a cape and become a true eccentric.  It looks like Harry Potter world in Oxford.  Seriously:

Which way to Diagon Alley?

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Dreaming of a Good Crafting Space

England is a tiny country, with tiny houses and tiny yards and tiny rooms and tiny pieces of furniture (and average sized people!).  Dont get me wrong, I adore it in all its tiny lovliness.  But I find it difficult being young and poor, and having enough space to move around in.

When I first moved here I made sure I rented a double room, as a single room might claustraphobia me right back to where I came from.  I'm glad I did, because as I was renting a room in a shared house with no living room and a tiny kitchen, I spent the better part of a year in that room.

I learned about England from watching Relocation Relocation - Phil and Kirstie held my hand and introduced me to the pasty, calling your yard a 'garden', that washing machines in the kitchen was normal, and that sometimes fireplaces are big enough that you can sit in them.  But I also learned that property in England is EXPENSIVE, and that space comes at a premium.

Me at my bedroom corner workshop!

I now live in a two bedroom flat above some shops in the centre of town, with my husband and his parents.  We dont have any outdoor space, and things are a bit tight for space.  I love this flat though, it's pretty, in great condition, and in an excellent location.  Besides being able to hear the clubs booming bass around the corner, I love looking out over the Mary Poppins chimneys and rooftops from the kitchen window.

Not having all that much space, though, means my little business venture is confined to an ever growing corner of the bedroom, spilling across the floor, and over and under my husband's desk.  Sometimes I long for the cheap available wide-open spaces of Canada - where the streets are wider and where my two bedroom rented ground floor suite in Vancouver cost as much as the little bedroom when I first moved to London.

We're happily moving to rented accomodation in Oxford this Autumn, and I hope that we'll feel like we can stretch out out limbs and not knock over a pile of books!

Most of all, I hope I can take over a corner of either the bedroom or the living room, and my crafting space will feel a bit less cramped.  Although the four bedroom stone cottage with paddocks and a fireplace I can sit in is a long way off (possibly a lottery win away), I'll be happy whatever happens crafting away in my bedroom corner.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Cory is a fan: Mocha's Friends

We all know I love polymer clay, and small things.  Well I love animals too.  Cute ones... like these from Mocha's Friends Handmade Animals and Jewellery!  How sweet is this little owl necklace?

Or these corgi earrings:
Perhaps a corgi on a balloon?

It takes a lot of time and patience to control polymer clay, especially to make two items that match like in her earrings, so I take my hat off to Esther, the creator of these cute pieces (and to her dog Mocha too, the inspiration for the characters!).

I've been making some little mallard ducks earrings and have been having difficulty making them look the same!  It's very tricky... but lots of bright lights and concentration often do the trick.  (Here are my little ducks):


Monday, 9 July 2012

Alright, so here's the plan!

I've made the decision - I'm keeping Coryographies' Etsy shop open while I'm away this summer (but will close my Folksy and The Craft Star for simplicity), and am going to offer a 15% discount to those who buy things while I'm away.  Hopefully this means a nice discount for those who are willing to wait a bit, and gives me lots to do when I return to my little bedroom workshop!

I'll be gone from July 15th to August 12th - so alllllllmost a month.  (Please be sunny, France!)

The way to get the discount is to use the voucher code for Etsy which is 'SUMMER15'.  At the checkout there is a blue link to click that says 'redeem a voucher', and you type it in there.  And then the savings are yours!

Archaeology is like this
I'll be back with pictures and stories, but in the meantime have pre-written a few blog posts to keep this place active and interesting and not let the dust collect.

I mentioned a couple blog posts down that I'll be in France (in the province of Poitou) digging on an archaeological site!  Very excited.  I'll let you know if I find anything good ;)  My goal is to find a fully articulated Neanderthal skeleton clutching an ochre shell, seemingly in dialogue with another Neanderthal when they both were covered by a mudslide.  That might be a bit unlikely, but I'll try my best!!

Get set for a lot of stone tool themed polymer clay jewellery when I come back ;)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Blog improvements!

Hooray for organization!

I've been working hard today, and have set up a bunch of pages on my blog in the above tabs - one click to see giveaway posts, tutorial posts, recipes, and an 'about me' section!  I think it all looks a lot more organized now, don't you? :)

Cory is a fan: Happy Yellow Dress

Happy Yellow Dress is a lovely dress shop run by Debbie Murray, who happens to be the sister of one of my dear highschool friends from Canada!  I absolutely adore her dresses, and the shop name is perfect;  many of her dresses are yellow, and they all make me happy.  Check out this adorable gingham one, which also comes in green and red:

Or this very sweet 50's style dress:
I'm a sucker for yellow, but my husband likes the green gingham one more... hmmmm decisions decisions!  If the sun ever comes out here in Britain, I think this is a definite treat for myself... and a few posts down, those lovely slip extenders I blogged about would be very cute peeking out underneath, hmmmm!

Happy Yellow Dress is also getting a new webpage which will be up soon:

Friday, 6 July 2012

Off digging Neanderthals soon!

I'm gonna find ya!
 In addition to being a crafter, I'm also a bit of an archaeology enthusiast - I met my husband on my first archaeological dig!  This summer I'll be hanging up my paintbrushes and bookshelf necklaces and be going on another for a month, in Poitou in France!  There I'll be trowelling around for neanderthals and such, getting inspiration for perhaps some more stone tool jewellery...

I'm think I will leave my Etsy shop open, offering a 15% discount for anyone willing to purchase an item that will not get made/shipped until I return on August 12th.  I hope that sounds like a good idea!  I dont want to entirely close my shop, I think I'd feel a bit sad!

So we'll see how that works.  I did a similar thing last Christmas when I was in York for 2 weeks, though sans discount.  Since I'm gone for 4 weeks this time, a 15% discount in exchange for a bit of a wait on an item might be alright with some people!! :)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy Canada Day! And July Sale...

Happy Canada Day everyone!  I hope you woke up to some blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, read the paper for the hockey scores, and chased the raccoon eating your dog's food off the balcony with your daughter's toy broom.

That last one might have been a childhood memory, but a very Canadian one!

Anyways, it's July!  A new month, and a new sale!  This month I've put my newest Shabby Chic Bookshelf Necklace (normally £25) on sale for just £20!  That's $31-32 for you Canadians and Americans!

This necklace is strung on an 18" bronze chain, and has a little bow decoration (that can be removed if it's not to your taste - but I think it's sweet!).  It has a base coat of dark brown paint, covered roughly with cream to give it a distressed cottage-y feel.  The books are a range of tans, creams and pinks!

They are Made to Order, so I have no problem if you request different colours or have a design idea you'd like to see! 

A very pretty gift, for your favourite book lover (even if that's you!)