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[ profile] ghoti posted a list of 5 things they felt they could never have too many of, for the times when someone wanted to give them a small present. I thought this was a great idea and (with permission) am hereby memeing it.

My list is:

  • postcards with thoughtful messages on
  • tiny bottles/packets/jars of interesting seasonings
  • gel pens in any colour other than blue
  • small packets of unusual types of rice
  • themed postal stamps (i.e. ones that cost the same as normal stamps but have different pictures on)

What's yours?

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
[ profile] squirmelia and I are organising a Computer Anonymous meet up at the St George's Tavern in London on 3rd June. More details:

Computer Anonymous:

London group:
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Hello! I need some advice on newspaper clippings, specifically clippings from local newspapers for local history purposes.

At the moment, I'm physically clipping articles out of the newspaper and glueing them to sheets of A4 paper, then labelling them with name/date/page of newspaper and subject of article (usually a specific local business [someone else is doing this for specific local people]). This is a giant faff.

What I would like to do is take photos of the articles, label them in the filename (perhaps with keywords too), and back them up in multiple places. However I wonder if copyright law would stop me sharing these photos with others in the future. Or if there's any other disadvantage of doing it this way.

I would like to preserve these clippings (physical or digital) for the long term; they might eventually go to Croydon local studies, or to the CNHSS. (I'm aware of newspaper digitisation projects, e.g. the excellent British Newspaper Archive, but I do think it's worth preserving things in more than one way and with more than one focus.)

Any advice?

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)

Via [personal profile] oursin:

When you see this, make a post in your journal or in a community. It can be anything: a crosspost something you've posted on Tumblr, a few words about the last thing you read/watched, or just a "Hi, how is everyone?" Then go read your f-list and leave at least one comment.

So here is a quick post about things you can freeze that at least one person has been surprised about when I told them.

Chopped onions/leeks/celery/carrots/etc. I freeze these raw in little 100ml tubs I got from, um, can't remember — possibly [personal profile] bob got them for me? The onions usually come from me needing half a chopped onion for something else, so I chop the whole thing and freeze the extra. All these are chopped small (as for mirepoix), and you can put them in the oiled pan from frozen — just turn the tub upside down and run it briefly under some hot water to release the contents.

Things that came out of tins. e.g. chickpeas — often I want just a few chickpeas to stick in with some rice or instant noodles, so I open a can, use a third of it, and freeze the rest in two of the abovementioned tubs. (I don't know why, but until recently it never occurred to me to freeze something that had been previously preserved in a different way.)

Sandwiches. I started doing this mainly because I get up at 5am on Tuesdays and then head off for a day of childcare based at a house I won't have been in since the previous Tuesday. So on Tuesdays (a) I don't want to take too much time making breakfast, and (b) I don't know what groceries will be available for making lunch. I solve this by taking a few sandwiches out of the freezer the previous night and letting them defrost in the fridge overnight.

For building up the stocks, sometimes I set aside time to batch-make sandwiches and freeze them; other times I just make two sandwiches instead of one when I'm making lunch, and freeze the spare. I try to use a variety of breads and fillings. (NB some things don't freeze well, e.g. fresh tomatoes, cream cheese.)

Takeaway leftovers. I usually decant them into my standard freezer tubs first, for ease of stacking and labelling.

What things do you like to freeze that I might not have thought of?

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)

I hosted a non-alcoholic cocktail party yesterday, and thought I'd share the recipes here. They're all pretty tasty. The julep is rather too sweet for me, but others liked it.

Iced green tea with pomegranate and ginger


It says to use pomegranate molasses with no added sweeteners, but I used a bottle from the Turkish shop with sugar in, and it was fine. I also used 6 cups of cold water instead of 8, since my first test batch tasted a bit too diluted.

Raspberry shrub with soda water


Tomato water

Core tomatoes, chop roughly, blend with hand blender until all large pieces are broken up - don't blend too long because you don't want to break up the seeds and release their bitterness. Season to taste with salt and sugar, adding bit by bit, stirring well, and tasting. You want to get to the point where it's not salty but the flavour of the tomatoes is really brought out, and it's not sweet but there's very little detectable sourness. Now you can add other flavourings - e.g. black pepper, torn basil leaves, etc.

Line a sieve over a bowl with a fine-mesh cloth (I use a square from a net curtain offcut), ladle the tomatoes in, let it drip for a moment, then gather up the corners of the square, tie string around, then use the string to suspend the parcel over the bowl and let it drip until it stops dripping. Don't squeeze the bag because that will make the tomato water cloudy.

400g tomatoes makes 200ml tomato water, which is a nice amount for one person. Use the leftover tomato pulp in a sauce or stew.

Spice and tonic

Recipe (scroll down to "Ginned Up").

I gave the juniper, coriander, and cardamom a quick bash in the pestle and mortar before adding them to the pan. I bought the lemon and orange peel from The Spiceworks.


Recipe (scroll down to "Georgia Mint Julep").

I made the peach syrup as stated (with fresh peaches since I couldn't find frozen). When I made the drinks, I doubled the lemon juice and left out the powdered sugar.

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)

My Sugru arrived today, which put me in a mind to think about small household repairs.

The absolute best way I've found to not procrastinate about sewing repairs is to keep a threaded needle next to the place where I sit to get dressed in the morning. If I see a small hole, I can fix it straight away in less than 30 seconds, which stops it becoming a big hole.

(I wondered if this was too obvious to be worth mentioning, but I only figured it out a couple of years ago, and I'm nearly 40 and have been sewing since I was small, so.)

Have you got any handy hints for household maintenance?

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)

I just found out that the Hövding invisible bike helmet has gone into production and is now for sale. I saw a video about this idea a while back and thought it looked pretty interesting. It's quite expensive — £300 — and also it uses electricity, so it's not obviously better than a conventional bike helmet. I'm not a cyclist so I can't evaluate it further than that, but it's certainly interesting.

If you're a cyclist reading this, I'd love to know what you think.

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)

Croydon artist Bev Jones is holding her first solo exhibition next month. She specialises in street scenes painted in bright acrylics, including people, shops, and trams.

Travelling by Bev Jones
Travelling, by Bev Jones, reproduced by permission. This shows the southern end of London Road, including the no-longer-present Ship of Fools. I have put down a deposit and by the end of the year this painting will be living in my house!

The launch is on Saturday 9 August, 11am–1pm, at Matthews Yard, off Surrey Street, Croydon, CR0 1FF, and I will be there because I'm buying one of her paintings and this painting will be part of the exhibition. (I am very excited about this purchase!) Would you like to come along too?

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I think I forgot to mention this here! I'm taking the Plastic-Free July challenge, and blogging about it.

(I designed and built the blog, so am interested in hearing comments about that too! It's another Jekyll one.)

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Next Thursday I will be going to the Computer Anonymous West London meetup at the Willow Walk, 25 Wilton Road, SW1V 1LW. I should be there from 6pm. Fancy coming along?

From the Computer Anonymous overview: “This might be the group for you if you want to meet socially conscious nerds to talk about interesting things. This is not an entrepreneurial meetup, nor is it networking: It is a support group, a place to meet good people and talk about good and bad things.

“Although education and outreach are both important to us, the primary goal is to create a social group for people in and around tech, from all backgrounds, where they feel comfortable and welcome.”

(If this sounds interesting but you're not in London, check the Computer Anonymous website to see if there's a group near you.)

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)

I discovered a couple more people who I forgot to re-subscribe to when I moved from [personal profile] kake to [personal profile] nou[personal profile] eccentricyoruba and [personal profile] liv, both of whom I find really interesting, so this was a happy find as it means I get to read the backlog.

If I'm not subscribed to you, and you think I should be, please shout! (This also applies to people I wasn't subscribed to as [personal profile] kake.)