Saturday, January 24, 2009

From winter wonderland to junglelike greenery

winter snow Hey ho, there's snow! Finally there's a bit of wintery wonderland to enjoy around here.

Inside the apartment however, there's plenty of greenery to contrast the crisp white view through the window. I promised you photos of the carnivores earlier, but as I had the camera handy I took photos of another one as well, which surprised us with a pretty red flower. I guess it likes it around here?

episcia kuparilehti
An Episcia of some sort.

As for the carnivores, I'm happy to say they have grown and thrived since the last update. They are now about 3.5 months old and the largest are about 2-2.5 cm (a little under an inch) tall and wide. Just look at that slime!

Drosera capensis kapmaankihokki
Drosera capensis, the bane of fungus gnats.

Drosera capensis kapmaankihokki
A tiny forest of DOOM.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Belated Christmassy Banana Muffins

Here comes that muffin recipe I mentioned in an earlier post, the one that I intended to post before the holidays. And oh look, it's another banana muffin recipe! There may be two already in this blog, but one can always use another one, right? Right...?

Yes, once again we had overly ripe bananas in the house, no matter how many I keep eating. I swear, it's as if these bananas sneak away to breed somewhere out of sight and then the young stay hidden long enough to make them overly ripe and thus safe for eating. Kind of like how crabs stay hidden after moulting, until their new shell hardens. I guess the threat of banana muffins came fairly late in the banana's evolutionary process, as they don't seem to have any defense mechanisms for that.


So! For these muffins I tried a gingerbread-like blend of spices, to fit the season. Worked quite well, I'm pleased to say, and they're even better the next day. Enjoy!

A pile of banana muffins, about to be devoured by a wild heart.
Christmassy Banana Muffins (makes 12)

4 dl (~1 1/2 cups) flour
3 dl (~1 1/4 cups) sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
about a thumbtip's worth of fresh ginger or 1 tsp dried ginger
100 g (~1/2 cup) melted butter
3 eggs
2 ripe, sliced or mashed bananas

Mix the dry ingredients together. Mash or slice the bananas, depending on your preference. Whisk the eggs, then add melted and somewhat cooled butter and bananas (and chopped ginger, if you use the fresh stuff). Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Divide into 12 muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 175°C (347°F).

As usual, the less you mix the batter, the better they'll be.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday Finds: Microbes

Lately I have been staring at bacteria in various forms all day, so of course I'm adding more to look at on my blog! It makes sense on some level, I'm sure. The Tuesday Finds are back after the holiday break and this week I bring you microorganisms or microbes.

In order to look at microorganisms, one of course needs a microscope. This neat sterling silver microscope pendant by Ball & Chain Jewelry should get us started!

Peering into the microscope, you might see something along the lines of this yellow bacteria. However, admiring the bacteria sewed and embroidered on a convertible pin and pendant by Crinoline is certainly easier on the eyes.

I worked with a species of Pseudomonas bacteria a few years ago, but alas, I never saw anything as cute as scientific culture's plush microbe. (I'm sure the microscope just wasn't powerful enough to show that sweet little smile...)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why hello there, Year 2009

So much for updating during my vacation. I really should know by now that it never works. This time the failure was due to forgetting the flash drive with photos and already written posts at home. *sigh* With the limited internet opportunities I had, writing new posts from scratch wasn't really an option. (So come back next week for a new Christmassy-type muffin recipe. They're good after the holidays too.)

The vacation was good though! Much food, movies, food, jigsaw puzzles, food, socializing, food, food and even a bit of knitting. In other words, all that's needed for full on relaxation. Christmas presents were spot on too, like one of these wonderful Moccamaster Clubline things. Now I can make handmade goods while drinking coffee made with a handbuilt coffeemaker. How appropriate!

Oh, and after we'd gotten back, Mr Morrgan surprised me with a belated Christmas/happy new job/early 4th anniversary gift, posing with Phoebe here:

Isn't he so cuuuuuute? Mr Morrgan, you do love me!

(Check out Bubbletime Boutique for more soft sweeties!)

The previous year had its ups and downs, but as a whole 2008 was a pretty good year.

  • The Big News of the year was that I finally finished my Master's degree in cell biology. Woohoo!

  • Shopwise, sales almost doubled both online and offline compared to the previous year (didn't realise this until I finished up the books last week, quite a surprise!).

  • Mr Morrgan and I went on a trip overseas, for the first time in many years, and during that time I met many of my in-laws for the first time after over 3 years of marriage (both our families are an international bunch, so it can be tricky to arrange to be in the same country at the same time).

  • I finally got some carnivorous plants (which are slimy and well, by the way, remind me to show you a new photo later).

  • I finally donated blood. It's something I wanted to do for a long time. Hopefully I can manage doing it regularly from now on.

  • A day before going on my vacation, just in time for it to be a nice Christmas gift, I got a job as a research assistant at the same lab I worked at briefly earlier that year.

So yes, pretty good all in all. =)

Judging by the first week or so, I think 2009 will be an interesting year. It'll certainly put my juggling skills to the test, having to find time for both a full-time job and my business. There will likely be changes once I've figured out how it will work best. Stay tuned.

Have a great 2009, everyone!
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