August 21st, 2007

Foodie’s housewarming rituals

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(Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs – Beautifully painted folk art to decorate your home. These are symbols to bring good luck to your home. Each colour & shapes used have it’s meaning. For example, hearts mean love, birds for luck & happiness. Tulips for faith, & stars also for good luck. Blue colour conveys protection, white purity, green abundance & red strong emotion.)

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The other day, my dear blog reader/ customer told me of her Indian custom -

“when one moves into a new house – one heats a pan of milk and allows it to boil over, thus ensuring the house will always have abundance.”

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I’ve no attachment to any particular religion but, I love the notion of making a point out of celebrating Life’s important moments. And now that this ritual has been mentioned to me, I’m thinking of doing it once I settle down.

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Quite often you hear the phrase: ‘you are what you eat’, which, I’m sure many of you will agree, is very true indeed. The food you eat has bearing on what your state of mind & health is. -
In a similar sense, I think ‘you are how & where you live’ also, as your habitat reveals the facets of your true being. And so, it is in that respect, that I feel with certainty that starting life in the new house with a food related ritual befits my character!

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Upon researching a bit more about the ‘boiling-over milk’ ritual, I found out that:

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“It is said to be better if the milk falls out to the east of the house. If you know which side of the house is east, then you can direct the froth of the milk towards that side. You have to let only a little milk fall out.”

& that:

you serve that milk to your housewarming guests, either as is, sweetened with a bit of sugar, or you can cook with it to make a proper meal. I’m thinking, maybe I’ll make mine a hot chocolate

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Upon this research, I noticed there’s many ways of housewarming/ blessing using food. For example, in Russia, there’s the tradition of sweeping the new home with rock salt, which is believed to release negative energy.

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In fact SALT is used symbolically in many cultures it seems. For example, in Feng Shui, to prevent & avoid diseases to come into your house & your life, few grains of salt is sprinkled in rooms, especially in corners & at all openings such as windows, doors & fireplace openings. And then there is the ‘bread & salt’ to be given as housewarming gift signifying that the new family would always have the necessities of life. (tradition comes from an old Russian folk custom).

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Bread & Salt crops up again as a housewarming gift idea – this time from Germanic origin:
Bread so you’ll never go hungry
Salt so you’ll have good luck
Wine so you’ll never be thirsty

Something interesting to remember when choosing a housewarming gift, I think.

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Other noteworthy traditional gifts that one can give are:

- a broom to sweep away the evil

- sugar or honey representing sweetness in their lives

- coin to bring good fortune to them

- plants signifying prosperous life

- candles for light in their lives

- wood for harmony & peace in the house

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In my home country Japan, there is the beautiful custom of giving out soba (buckwheat noodle) still in it’s packet to the neighbours on both sides, & to the house in front of you (and if you’re moving in to a block of flats, it’s apparently advisable to give soba to the directly above & below you too!).

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Why soba? Well, its a playful meaning, as ‘soba’ sounds just like another Japanese word which means “next to/ close to”. Hence, you’re signalling that you’d like to start amicable relationship with them.

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Naturally, I knew of this custom, but, in my case, when time comes, I’m not sure I’d give out soba noodles… – it’ll feel too strange for them, I’m sure! Possibly too intrusive?? So maybe a quick knock on the door or a card through the door??

August 6th, 2007

Some interior products I like

Pendant Jelly mold Lights(Pendant Jelly Lights – Made from vintage jelly moulds, with jelly mould roses and silk covered flex.)

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As faithful readers will know, I am moving to my new house this September. I’ve been extensively looking for sofas, coffee & dining tables. So far I’ve not come across ones that I like (that’s within our budget), but during my search, I did come across many great designs, that’s related to food/ kitchen (+etc), so here’s a snippet of them that caught my attention!

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Beech Ten Drawer Apple Rack(Beech Ten Drawer Apple Rack – Made from solid beech, this traditional & useful piece is ideal not just for storing fruit & veg, but makes a lovely storage unit for blankets etc)

duncan mug(Duncan Mug – Three coffee mugs featuring embossed molds of Custard Cream, Jammie Dodger or Shortbread that reveal themselves as you finish your drink. By Wai-Lian Scannell, London.)

traditional english roller towel holder(Oak Roller Towel Holder - Traditional oak roller towel holder made in England.)

Wheeled Table shaker style

(Bespoke Shaker Wheeled Table)

Rainbow MAKER(Original Rainbow Maker - Fill your room with a dazzling swirl of rainbow with clever solar powered device that sticks to the window by suction cap. Direct sunlight turns the motor, and, in turn, the Swarovski crystal rotates, creating beautiful rainbows that dance around the room.)

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Finally, a bit of inspirational link to a House & Garden feature on actress, Chloë Sevigny’s house. She’s got such amazing sense of style… love her…!
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PS:

Last week at the market was superb. What with the weather forecast telling me it’s gonna be hot, I gambled on making extra, & bingo, it paid off. There were tons of people out, enjoying the hot weather that we’ve been sorely missing the whole of last month, & these people were hungry for cakes! I presume most of them were taking it to a picnic or to a BBQ party.
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- AND, guess what guys, after my rambling of poor sales the week before, this time I managed to sell out in record-breaking time of 2.40pm. ;-) Not so bad afterall ei?
The whole day was just wonderful – friends drop by to see me, & then my ex-flatmate girlfriends come by at the end to meet up, & we sit outside the pub basking the gorgeous sun drinkin’ n’ chatting, looking at the market packing up after a buzzing day. D & our son join us after they’ve been to a birthday party, then an old college friend drops by out-of-the-blue too! – I managed to get very drunk after that…