Debbie's Doings

When two people sing together, they're in love; when two people dance together, they make love.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Crafty Wedding: Getting ready with the girls.

There's this dream in my head of how the morning of my wedding is supposed to play out. It's supposed to be all champagne and beautiful smiles. It's supposed to be pictures of me being beautiful while getting my hair and makeup done. It's supposed to be any number of memorable images captured by my photographer and be something I'm so glad to look back on later.

It wasn't quite like that. It was reality instead. I was running late, didn't get the magical pictures of me in makeup, we were constantly on the phone trying to sort something out, I lost a contact lens in my eye (I did find it eventually), and all I ended up eating before the wedding was half a tin of fruit cocktail (my request). Even though it wasn't like I imagined it would be, it was still a great morning spent with my girls and I couldn't have enjoyed it more than I did.

Laura was on camera duty

I think Naomi isn't happy about her picture being taken

Mom waiting on me to be finished

My pretty hair did get photos...I was impressed because my hair was only just shoulder length

Me and my fruit cocktail...
 So I was finishing up at the salon and Laura asked me what I wanted for lunch as she was going to walk over to the supermarket and get some nibbles for us. I said I wanted fruit cocktail. I don't know why I was craving that particularly. I don't normally eat it and in fact, I can't remember the last time I had it before that day. She gave me a funny look and said, "Really? Okay."
 With all this spread of food she brought back to her house for us, I pretty much only had my tin of fruit. I did think not to eat the entire can because then I might have needed to use the toilet. So I only had half of it. There was a lovely spread of food though- salmon, hummus, cantaloupe, cheese, mussels, etc.
Laura and Naomi eating lunch
 We got ready for the wedding at my best friend and MOH's house in town. It was easy to do that instead of going back out to my house which was 25 minutes away.
Girls getting ready before it's my turn.
I did have the forethought to tell everyone else to get ready first so they would be dressed for pictures when I got ready. Thanks Weddingbee for that idea!
Next up was was finally my turn to get dressed for the wedding. I wasn't super-anxious about this because I knew my dress was going to be tight and restricting. I was content to stay in my blue stretchy dress for as long as I could. But it couldn't be put off any longer. I had set an alarm so I knew when I had to start changing and before I knew it, it was 12:30pm and I needed to get my dress on.
Mom had practiced getting me into my dress before this day, so she knew what to do
This makes it look so much more glamorous than it was...

Getting my garter on
Getting Mom's pearls and diamonds on...I got to be a princess that day.

A peaceful moment
I love the next series of pictures and can't just post one...they tell a story and share the relationship Laura and I have had for nearly 11 years now.

My words were, "I'm getting married today!"

Then she teared up and started crying...

Then I did too...
It was an emotional morning with my girls and my mom. Before I knew it, it was time to head to the Japanese Gardens and meet my soon-to-be husband for some pictures before the ceremony.

Mom helps me get into my ridiculously high heels.

Final pose before we leave.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Crafty Wedding: My Hen Do.

A few days before our wedding, Jeff and I had our stag and hen dos. Since I live in NZ now, that's what they're called instead of bachelor and bachelorette parties. I had no idea what Laura had in store for me that night and I didn't know what Doug had in store for Jeff. Let's just say it was a perfect night. Around 6pm I was to show up at Naomi's house. This is what greeted me:

MOH Irish
The theme was "Medieval." I loved it. So immediately after handing my camera to my Mom, Laura whisked me away so I could become properly attired.
That's better.
I had a court Jester (thanks Roger) and a peasant who brought me drinks (thanks Anna).
 It was a fun-filled evening with drinks, dinner, a bonfire, medieval dancing and a couple of games. After all this we went on a surprise trip. I found out later that early in the planning process, MOH Irish planned this out with BM Doug to meet up later in the evening. I don't have any photos from that part of the night, but there was dancing, mustaches, a game where I got tackled and some kisses with my soon-to-be husband. I was so happy to see our friends having such a good time celebrating with Jeff and I. It made me more excited for the wedding that was in a few days! Here are a few more pictures from that night.
 MOH Irish explaining my gift- a book of notes and advice from all my girls all over the world.
 Dinner outside with the ladies.
Great friends.

 Anna really got into the peasant look with her holey socks.

 Learning how to do a medieval dance. This was fun. Then later on I got in trouble at the combined party because I took off my mustache. So Laura forced me to dance to earn the forgiveness of the lord of the evening (Jeff). I hammed it up and it was great. I wonder if anyone took pictures of that?
I really couldn't have asked for a better party from my friends. I loved every minute of it. I knew I didn't want a traditional party and I knew Laura would pull through. Now I just think I can't wait to help plan a hen do for one of my girls here! Although it'll be tough to top my medieval princess party. :)

Did you have a traditional hen do, or did you go for something different?

Home Renovations: Making a Space for Myself Part 2

Progress has been coming along on our sun room project. Today Jeff put in the carpet for me! But first, let's look at the shelving and storage solutions that were done first.

 This shelf is made to fit the containers I bought to store all my things in. The varnished wood is what was left of the door Jeff cut up for my worktable.
 Worktable and containers waiting for my stuff.
 Above the windows is a deeper shelf for some big containers I bought for larger pieces of fabric.
 Jeff thought it would be funny to put the dog up there.
 I need more containers!
 Finished shelves, painted windows and now just waiting on carpeting.
 A friend of ours was getting the carpet replaced in their house, so he offered us some of their old carpet that was still in decent condition. Even better is that it was in the shade of grey I wanted! Light grey.
 Chris brought by the carpet and underlay Friday night and Saturday afternoon Jeff got to work.
 New carpet is in.
I'm so happy with how this has turned out. There are still boxes of things to unpack and organize, but that's on hold until I go to Bunnings and get more containers. In the meantime, I've got to finish the guest bedroom and keep cleaning the house. A woman's work is never done (neither is my husband's work for that matter).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cooking Escapades: Beef Jerky

This is the first in a new series I talked about a couple months ago...experiments in the kitchen. I love cooking (as those who know me in real life can vouch for) and I do sometimes try new recipes. Most of the time if I'm trying something new it's because I miss something from back home that I can't find in my new home. Or it's too expensive to be manageable on our tight budget. Like today's recipe.

I've always liked beef jerky. There's just something about the flavors of that dried meat that make my mouth water (it's happening right now as I think about beef jerky). I know jerky is supposed to be a manly food (why? because it's meat?) but I love it. When I found out that the process is relatively simple and can be done at home...well, why not? See I would love to buy Jack Link's beef jerky here. Really I would, but this is all I can find...

Do you see the net weight of this bag of jerky? 25 measly grams. That's hardly a handful. And when it costs nearly $4 for it...well, then it just gets really out of hand. So I bought a nice flank steak from the supermarket a couple weeks back and set out to make homemade beef jerky. Here's the journey.

 Step 1: choose your meat and freeze it for a few hours. Once it's pretty well frozen, use a sharp knife and tongs to cut the meat into the skinniest slices you can manage. The fact that the meat is frozen really helps out a lot.

Step 2: The marinade. Once you have sliced all your meat, then you need to make a marinade for the beef. I chose to do two parts olive oil, 1/2 part worcestershire sauce and 1/2 part soy sauce. If I had liquid smoke, I would have used some of that as well. But what I had worked.
Step 3: Combine the meat and the marinade in a container with a lid and let sit overnight in your fridge. The next day is cooking day!

Step 4-6: The next day pull your meat out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 75 degrees C and get a cookie sheet and a cooling rack out (make sure the cooling rack is appropriate for oven use). Choose your spices for the meat! I went with two different tastes. The first batch was the smoked paprika and oregano (very subtle flavors, but pretty good) and the second batch I went with cumin, coriander and a tiny bit of nutmeg (SOO good). Lay the meat out on the rack so they don't touch each other and sprinkle with the spices you choose. I would also say this is the time to add salt, more salt than you think you might want. I didn't add salt to the first batch and it was more bland. The second batch was so much better with the salt.

 Step 7: Place the cooling rack on the baking tray and put it in the oven. Let the meat cook (basically dehydrate) for about 2.5 hours. Check it once in awhile to make sure it's drying. Your house will smell delicious.

 Step 8: When the meat is completely done, it will look like this. You will want to eat it straight from the pan. Go ahead, have a couple pieces. It's good.

Store your beef jerky in a jar with a lid and watch it disappear as your husband eats it all. Seriously, it didn't last a week here. But it was good. Next time I'll make even more and try out different flavors. I'm thinking cracked black pepper with some hot sauce. Sweet chili flavor. The possibilities are endless.