Workspace Wednesday

Workspace-Wednesday

I have been spending lots of time at my craft room desk lately. Planning, reading blogs, writing, knitting, watching The 4400, organising papers, creating, cleaning out spaces in my craft room. It’s always been my happy place, and even more now that I have a clear working surface, that’s for sure! It’s hard to believe that a month ago, you couldn’t even see the top of my desk! Now I’ve made good progress in making the space more functional and usable again.

10 Things – Recipes to Try

10-Things-Recipes-to-Try

It’s no secret that I love food! While I tend to stick to a handful of favourite recipes, I do also enjoy finding new things to make as well. Seeing as I’m completing a 27 recipes challenge, I though now would be as good a time as any to share some ideas of things I want to try!

  1. Steak and mushroom pie – I’ve never made pie from scratch and I think this could be quite nice!
  2. Tandoori chicken – Michael wants me to make this one since he is hooked on tandoori whenever we get Indian for dinner
  3. Salmon laksa – Or any laksa, really. I have a hard time finding a recipe for this though… Most ask for laksa past and I want to make it from scratch
  4. Greek lamb meatballs – This was a random one I found in a cookbook that sounds quite awesome to me!
  5. Ravioli – We both love ravioli and I think it could be fun to try to make it from scratch. Not sure what flavour I will try though
  6. Sushi rolls – I love tuna and avocado best, and I figure it might be time to give this one a try
  7. Sausage rolls – Homemade sausage rolls are so much better than store brought ones! Especially when they have good pastry
  8. Honey chicken – This has always been a favourite and I haven’t had it in a very long time!
  9. Vegetable soup – It’s coming into Winter here in Australia, and it seems very much like soup weather at the moment. I want to try to find a good vegetable soup
  10. Sticky Thai pork – Another random one from a cook book that sounds rather amazing to me!

Sunday Seven

Sunday-Seven

Each month I will be sharing a Sunday Seven post, which will be a round of a few of my favourite things I’ve seen on the web. I like the idea of celebrating some of my favourite sites, along with new sites that I discover and find inspiring.

This week, some of the things inspiring me the most include:

  • This mug. I so want to get this for my sister’s birthday, since she likes owls!
  • 30 Reasons to be Happy Today. Such a fun list and ties in so well with my #100happydays challenge!
  • I’m after an idea for a little basket to store keys and the likes in when we move, and love some of the ideas Kellie shared here!
  • Elise has now created a podcast and I am quite enjoying listening to the episodes!
  • Love this video of where Ali is up to with her Project Life. It gives good ideas as to how to manage being behind.
  • This post by Pink Ronnie, outlines the difference between self portraits and selfies. I so need to do a self portrait challenge!
  • This My Details eCourse looks like it would be a lot of fun

Hope you all have a great week ahead!

100 Happy Days

#100HappyDays

A month or 2 ago, my sister told me about the 100 Happy Days challenge, where you take a photo a day for 100 days of something you are happy about. I forgot about it at the time, but a week and a half ago, Elsie shared this on The Beautiful Mess blog, and it was a reminder to go ahead and sign up!

Twelve days in, and I’m quite enjoying this challenge! I’m loving the reminder to take photos, and always on the look out for things that make me smile to take a photo of. It’s making every day things like cooking more fun again as well. I’ll share my photos here every 2 weeks or so, or you can see them by seaching the hashtag #j3ss1c4s100happydays

J3SS1C4's 100 Happy Days

This is a good challenge to help you notice what makes you happy every day, put you in a better mood, realise how lucky you, to help you become more optimistic and to fall in love during the challenge. If you want to join in, you can sign up here. If you do, let me know in the comments so I can follow your progress!

I Choose – April

I-Choose-April

I managed to make some progress with my goals last month, such as starting my craft room, finishing my book, writing regularly, cooking some new meals and finally updating my budget, but as is the trend for the last few month, I managed to fail at taking any photography classes! This month, I will:

  • Work on my #createeveryday challenge
  • Keep up with my Project Life pages (and hopefully start the planning for the second half of last year!)
  • Start packing up my bookshelf and desk in our master bedroom
  • Send my penpal some happy mail
  • Cook 3 new meals
  • Pay off our new fridge
  • Start planning some custom designed furniture we want to make
  • Collect a heap of coffee jars to turn into our spice jars
  • Savour our last full month in our unit, living so close to Parramatta
  • Have a pizza night with Dad and my sister’s at our place

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Choose was my One Little Word for 2013, that I used to help guide me throughout the year. It’s still relevant in my life, so I will continue sharing an “I Choose” post at the start of each month.

You can see my “Choose” posts here.

If you don’t know what One Little Word is, you can read more about it in this post from Ali Edwards. I will be undertaking Ali’s One Little Word class again this year, and creating an album about my word and the changes it’s manifesting in my life.

Create Everyday

I-Choose-April

During the month of April, I am undertaking the challenge of creating something every day. I have no set plans as to what I want to be creating throughout the month, but I am super excited for this challenge after so long without making much, especially since I’m in the process of cleaning out my craft room and finding lots of fun supplies to play with!

I’m sure some of these will be bigger projects where I only make a little progress each night, and other’s will be something I can get done quickly. Some ideas may be digital scrapbooking, Project Life, knitting, sewing, painting, decor for the new house and I’m not sure what else. I like the idea of leaving it open and letting inspiration strike!

To start the fun, I found this video on Vimeo about 29 ways to stay creative. It’s such a fun little clip and I love it!

If you want to follow along, I’ll be sharing my progress on Instagram each day here, using the hashtag #createeveryday. I’d love for you all to join in and share as well, so we can inspire each other along the way. Please share your Instagram name in the comments so I can check out your photos if you do!

27 Recipes – Celery Soup

27 Recipes - Celery Soup

This was another random recipe that I found in a Coles magazine. I love celery, but the ides of celery soup sounded a little skeptical to me. I decided to go ahead and try it anyway, and it was a hit! The mint and pancetta really make it awesome!

27-Recipes-Celery-Soup-Ingredients

Ingredients

2T olive oil
1 brown onion
1 bunch celery
300g red potatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
100g pancetta
2T mint

Method

  1. Chop the onion and potatoes, and thinly slice the celery
  2. Heat 1 1/2 T of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion and celery for 10 minutes until softened27-Recipes-Celery-Soup-1
  3. Add the potato and stock, then bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes27-Recipes-Celery-Soup-2
  4. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly
  5. In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in a frypan over medium heat and cook the pancetta for 2-3 minutes each side, until crisp27-Recipes-Celery-Soup-3
  6. Add the mint to the soup and use a hand blender to blend until smooth
  7. Season and serve with broken shards of pancetta. Can also be served with a sprinkle of parmesan

My Thoughts

I was surprised how well this worked. The pancetta tastes amazing when fried, and it really set off the minty flavour. This is a soup I will be trying again for sure! I wasn’t able to buy fresh mint, but I used one of the chopped mint pastes from the vegetable section of the shop

Michael’s Thoughts

Michael thought the soup was amazing, and that it had a great thickness and home made grainy consistency (like a soup your mum would make, not like the water with flavouring that you buy a the shops)

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This is recipe 19 of 27 in my attempt to try 27 new recipes before turning 28 on 19th June, 2014. This project was inspired by my 26 projects challenge from the last year, with a new little twist.

You can see recipe one here, two here, three here, four here, five here, six here, seven here, eight here, nine here, ten here, eleven here, twelve here, thirteen here, fourteen here, fifteen here, sixteen here, seventeen here and eighteen here

Project Life 2014 || Weeks 11 and 12

Week 11 ||

Week-11

Dates: 10th March – 16th March

What happened this week? I read The Host by Stephanie Meyer. We had Friday off work to go to an appointment with the builder. We saw our first sunrise in the new house, then went exploring Blum, an awesome nursery and Ikea to come up with lots of house ideas. I had an amazing nap. We gamed a lot. There was also 2 big storms over the weekend.

Week-11-LeftAnything special in the spread? Photo collages is about it this week

Week-11-Right

Overall thoughts: I struggled this week a little, due to the lack of photos from the week, yet Friday had monster amounts! I also struggled with the colours in Midnight kit, although not as much as previously. I think I might be getting use to this kit!

Supplies used: Cathy Zielski’s Life Basics No. 01 Templates, Cathy Zielski’s Week in Review cardsMidnight full digital kit, RUKRISTIN’s “Currently” journalling card, fonts are Calibri and KG Second Chance Sketch

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Week 12 ||

Week-12

Dates: 17th March – 23rd March

What happened this week? I finished reading The Host, gamed a lot with Michael and his best mate, Jason, cooked pork and pear bake, celery soup and poached eggs with avocado, and enjoyed the butter chicken Michael made, celebrated Harmony day at work and Michael’s niece’s birthday, sorted and deleted endless bookmarks on my computer, and we went to the block twice, and saw that we have real walls now! Oh, and I celebrated 2 years of blogging!

Week-12-Left

Anything special in the spread? I used three 4×4 inch photo spots on the first page. I also tried out the new Strawberry Kit

Week-12-Right

Overall thoughts: This was a fun page to make. I tried the Strawberry Project Life kit this time, and I have to say, I do like the colours. I struggled to find a kit with enough green cards that I liked, and once I had the photos in, green was the colour that seemed most fitting. It worked well in the end! I am really enjoying switching up the layouts a bit with different sized cards this year!

Supplies used: Cathy Zielski’s Life Basics No. 01 Templates, Cathy Zielski’s Week in Review cardsStrawberry full digital kit, RUKRISTIN’s “Currently” journalling card, fonts are Calibri and KG Second Chance Sketch

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To find out more about Project Life, you can check out Becky Higgins blog here, which has lots of photo ideas and inspiration. You can see all of my Project Life 2014 posts here, and 2013 Project Life posts here. I also have this post of Tips and Ideas for Documenting Week in the Life, which has many ideas that can carry over to Project Life easily.

Sunday Seven

Sunday-Seven

I’ve decided that once a month I will be sharing a Sunday Seven post, which will be a round of a few of my favourite things I’ve seen on the web. I like the idea of celebrating some of my favourite sites, along with new sites that I discover and find inspiring.

This week, some of the things inspiring me the most include:

  • These hanging planters made from plastic fish bowls from A Beautiful Mess. I already know where I am going to put a set of these in the new house!
  • These Project Life spreads from Trisha. I love the full-page photos, the hexagonal mirrors she shows in one of her pictures, and the differing perspectives in her photos
  • Elise’s Make29 Project. What a fun concept overall! When I saw her March release of the ampersands, I thought for sure I would have to get one, but alas, they were sold out by the time I woke up this morning
  • My sister sent me a link for #100daysofhappy a few weeks back, and I’ve been planning on signing up, but kept forgetting. Seeing the reminder on A Beautiful Mess blog today, I’ve now taken the plunge!
  • These new layered 3×4 templates by Ali. I really like this idea for adding some more simple journalling to Project Life
  • I discovered this blog on Pinterest recently, and I have to say that I have been quite enjoying it. I love all the blog features and printables that she has, and it has given me a few ideas for my blog
  • This post about tackling big projects, also from Elise. Be still, my list making heart! I do this sort of thing for projects as well… Most projects I make have a long list associated to them!

I’m looking forward to this series of posts, since it’s so fun sharing some of my favourites!

Inspired Life with Jess turns 2!

Can you believe it? I’ve stuck with this blogging thing for 2 whole years now! During this time, I’ve written over 350 posts here at Inspired Life with Jess! While I never expected to get this far and find it’s not always easy, I can say with all certainty that I love my little home on the internet!

Inspired-Life-with-Jess-turns-2

I started this blog on a whim on the 21st March, 2012, and I haven’t looked back! It has always been a place that I can write about anything I find interesting… Crafty projects, recipes, photography, Project Life, travel, my goals and whatever else is inspiring me at any point, and I plan on keeping this up.

Going forward into my 3rd year of writing, I have some blog goals I want to set for myself, since I want to make this little space on the web more successful, and feel that outlining some of my goals here may give me the push I need to focus more on making this little space home.

1. Sort out the categories on my blog

I think I really need to streamline the categories I use on my blog, to help with some of my other goals on this list. I think there will be some that I get rid of entirely, and some I focus a bit more effort on. Some just don’t really make sense to me anymore, but with over 350 posts, this may take a bit of effort!

2. Set up some archive pages with photos

This is something that I’ve wanted to do for quite a while now. Not necessarily for every category I have, but at least for things such as recipes, Project Life and crafty projects. This visual archive will make posts so much easier to find!

3. Revamp my blog

I’m thinking a new header and a side bar with photos for categories. I think this will be a fun little change! I still love the green, but feel like more photos will be a bit more fitting for me at this point

4. Keep working on my blog photography

It’s probably clear by now that I like taking photos… I have thousands of them! Not all of them are good though, and I want to work on making a higher percentage of them better. I especially want to focus on improving my food photography and my project photography over the next year

5. Work on plenty of new content

I’d love to come up with a regular feature here, but as of yet, I’m not sure what that will be. I also want to work on sharing more creative projects. I don’t share anywhere near as many DIY and crafty projects as I would like, and it’s something I would like to strive for over the next year

6. Schedule posts in advance

I find I have a much easier time blogging when I set up a schedule of post ideas (I usually have each month planned at the end of the month before), and I would like to build on this to have posts scheduled a day or 2 before they are due to go up. I go through stages where I am quite good at it, and it makes things much easier, and I would like to build on the consistency of it

7. Improve my social media skills

I currently use Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, and none of them are very consistent. I would like to become a little more consistent with each, and share more on them. Little snippets of daily life, project ideas, things that are inspiring me elsewhere on the web, etc. I think I’ll be giving my Pinterest feed a good overhaul shortly, adding new links, and deleting and organising a heap more!

8. Look into self hosted WordPress sites

I’d love to learn more about web design and would eventually like to create my own self hosted site. We shall see how I go with that one! I can’t imagine I’d change all that much of my blog apart from my goals above, but I think it would be a fun challenge and it would give me more options to grow in the future!

I’m sure there will be more ideas going forward, but I think this is a good start! :-)