Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Marvellous Three

We had a Birthday party this afternoon - the invitation was in the shape of a mask - a Masquerade Party!
Yesterday afternoon, we cut, painted, glued & hot glued up a set of masks ready to party. On the way there Anna-Jayne had a nervous moment as 'everyone else will have store bought masks'...

I suppose it had to happen eventually. The realisation that home-made is 'different'. I explained to her - we're a creative, crafty family by our choice and I think - the hour or so of fun and mess produced making our masks makes them more beautiful than the most gorgeous store bought product. She kind of agreed with me and lo and behold, when we arrived, there were quite a few hand made masks anyway.

I grabbed a few photos and looking at them on the screen, it amazes me at how fast they are growing. No longer babies or toddlers, I definitely have 3 young people. Anyway, enough talking. I hope you had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You did WHAT??!!

My parents are off travelling Asia again for a couple of years. They spent almost 2 years away just after Poppy was born and have just gone again in November. I had planned to go over in September to see them in Vietnam but as it turns out Steven will be away. I was pretty devastated to say the least.

He is coming in Easter to see the children so Mum suggested over Skype last night , "why not come then?" Of course I said "no way, it's too soon, I can't get everything organised, I can't afford it." But after they generously offered to pay for me to go (I know - it's like winning LOTTO) and Steven's parents wonderfully offered to have the kids for a week - I booked tickets today for TWO WEEKS away!

Oh my... *panic stations*. So I am off in 35 days, with the extra hitch of: an expired passport, no visa or up to date innoculations....... *meep*

I can't believe it really. It's just one of the most random, spontaneous & wonderful things to happen to me! So I've been away from Asia for 13 years and I am so so thrilled to be heading back. I'm already thinking of the photos, food & fun in store for me with two weeks with my Mum. To top it off (as if it needs icing) - I get two overnight stop overs in Kuala Lumpur!!! I am grinning so wide right now & feeling more blessed than I can articulate.

First stop - Births, Deaths and Marriages for a Marriage Certificate. Isn't it funny - our divorce papers are being organised & I'm off to pay $70 to prove I'm married.....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jam Drops

I used this recipe which I found through Tiny Happy's Blog...

I followed the recipe exactly and got delicious results. The biscuit is melt in your mouth with the slightest firm base to bite through, and the jam goes wonderfully sweet and slightly chewy... Mmm... I got 29 out of my batch and we ate all of them in one afternoon. The dough does feel soft and you have to work reasonably swiftly but I managed fine with two little 'helpers' and the results speak for themselves...
Next week I will endeavour to find my Lemon Loaf recipe to show for a beloved friend :D

Clean Bathroom, Bake Muffins....

My to-do list today was pretty simple, with wonderful results! I'm going to revisit some of mine & other people's favourite baking recipes each week and post the recipes, photos and reviews here, sound good?

This week is my all time favourite basic muffin recipe from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. I personally think every person who moves out of home should get one of these. Not only does it go into detail about every imaginable ingredient, how to buy them, when & how to use them, but the recipes are failproof. From old familiy recipes to modern masterpieces for your mouth! I am a pretty experienced cook but I still go back to this lovely for information on a pretty regular basis. Anyway - onto the:

Basic Muffins



220gm Self Raising Flour

1/2 cup Castor Sugar

3/4 cup Milk or Buttermilk

1 Egg

3/4 cup Vegetable Oil

How To

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC and grease muffin tins well with butter (I use patty pans/muffin cases for easier clean up).

  1. Mix sifted flour and castor sugar and any other dry ingredients you intend to use (I used cinnamon).

  2. Combine milk, egg and oil in a seperate bowl and any other wet ingredients (I used vanilla, two small mashed bananas and a little handful of frozen raspberries).

  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in liquid and mix lightly.

  4. Spoon batter into muffins tins/cases until 2/3 full, then bake for 20-25 mins until brown on the top. (I also added a sprinkle of brown sugar & oats to the top & pushed in lightly)

  5. Remove tins from the oven, cool for a minute then put onto a rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 6 muffins & approx 12 mini muffins - which is just enough to share :0)

If using this recipe for savoury muffins, simply omit the castor sugar.

I have NEVER had a batch of these go wrong, no matter how many additions I make. Cheese, bacon & zucchini muffins are wonderful!

So now I have a clean bathroom and something to nibble at the computer until school pick-up!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Linky List

Well, after Christmas is drag financially. Even though I have a Christmas savings fund, the extra meals out, functions and unplanned events quickly add up to deplete the budget. Add that to birthdays on the 11th, 15th, 25th and 28th of December, it's easy to see how by the time school's back my poor bank balance is screaming for a rest!

I've decided 2010 is my year to find some breathing room financially & live more frugally. To do that, I figure one of my biggest expenses apart from ones you can't do without, is presents, believe it or not! With Jaynie at school, and Cameron & Poppy at Kindy, we are getting a lot of lovely (and expensive) Birthday invitations. School's been back three weeks and we've had three party invites. After deliberating - I've decided to try and scale back costs by making at least part of each present handmade. Cards alone can range from $2 to $11 - we've got lots here at home to handmake them.
My god-daughter Luci's 8th birthday was on Monday, so she was first cab off the rank for the handmade experiment. We bought $15 worth of Lip Smackers and then made:

to make it a wonderfully full gift. Amazingly I didn't take a photo of the end result but I have included links to the tutorials I used for each part. The online crafting community is so generous to share ideas and tutorials, it's a wonderful resource.

I have been looking, coveting, dreaming around the interwebs (what was I saying earlier about being frugal?! A girl can dream can't she??!!) - just look at this eye candy from new blogs I've found:

Crocheted Pillowcases from Rosehip

Delicious cupcakes from Baking Addict

Fabulous interiors from Making it Lovely

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Troublesome Tuesday

The wheels have well and truly fallen off this week! My eldest daughter Anna-Jayne received her 2nd and official diagnosis for Aspergers on Friday. It has brought mixed emotions to the fore.
Guilt for what I may have done wrong in my ignorance, subsequently making things more difficult for her, sadness that she's never going to 'grow out of it' and she will always struggle with certain things in life, anger that I am the only one who deals with this on a day-to-day basis and relief that I have some answers and can now get on with finding ways to help Jaynie sort through things and help her be the best person she can possibly be.
On mentioning to friends and family, I have dealt with a lot of disbelief and questioning with her being 'labelled', resulting in me personally being unsure and questioning the lady doing her assessment. She said in her professional opinion, Jaynie is very 'subtle'. She doesn't believe there is 'mild' Aspergers - Autism, yes absolutely - but not Aspergers. You either have it or you don't. She said Anna-Jayne definitely has it, but because of her being a) female, b) intelligent and c) lovely natured, she presents very 'subtly' and has learnt to 'copy' certain behaviours to help her cope and 'fit in' to a certain degree. All of this is very new to me and I am relaying the conversation as it was said to me so it is confusing?!
We have a long road ahead. But I am actually looking forward to helping Jaynie understand herself and enable her to use her wonderful positive attributes in new ways. I am going to update on here too so hopefully we can look back & see the progress we made and who knows, perhaps help and connect with other families in similar situations?
I made a wholly home-made gift on the weekend for my god-daughter but forgot to photograph it! Oops! I will come back tomorrow to share the links I used for lovely hair clips, headbands, gift basket & pencil roll.
*sorry about how difficult this is to read - blogger is being a poo & ignoring my formatting*

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fantastic Friday

I have my first 'proper' photo shoot this afternoon - twins who belong to my dear friend Michelle. They're still in NICU after being born at 31 weeks but we're hoping to capture some of those delicious newborn scrumptious moments. I am so nervous - I just want to be able to re-create the images in my mind's eye for this wonderful family!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Change Your Perspective!


Now, there is no way I am going to post before pics... I couldn't stand the shame! But I would like to share some after pics of the results of a couple of weeks' decluttering & organising that I did during the Christmas holidays.

I love going to bed in a clean & tidy room - it doesn't happen that often, my room often tends to be the dumping ground for clean washing, crafty & sewing things! I have been making an effort to make my bed each morning , open the curtains and ensure the under-bed area is swept and tidy to allow good feng shui. It's amazing those small differences can make! I don't cringe going into my room during the day & like to see at least one room is relatively organised when I go to the bathroom. Isn't that curtain ugly?! I have plans to sew some pretty binding to try and allieviate that hideous 80s peach.

Staying true - it still doesn't look like Better Homes & Gardens, spot Poppy's Dora bag, but it's a massive improvement! Hehe. The bookcase got removed from the lounge where it was constantly being 're-arranged' by the kids & now is a neat & tidy entry point to our home.

The living area is still rather bare, but it does make it easier to do a big clean up at the end of the day. I'm trying to train the children to keep their toys in their bedrooms and only bring one out at a time. The Christmas stuff is down & away now, so that helps to make it look a little less messy as well!

I hope you're enjoying your day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sewing Catch up...

I'm back again! Today I thought I'd show you a peek at some sewing I've been doing:

Firstly I made a nursing cushion for a wonderful Mum I know who's just had twins after a long five year wait! I used Kellie from Don't Look Now's wonderful tutorial to have a hidden zip along the back for easy removal & washing.

Next I thought I'd have a try at a string quilt after seeing so many wonderful creations.

I had made a table runner as a Christmas present and had some fabric left over, so I tried it with a few fabrics to start with. I reallly like how it's turned out although, I think the brighter, multi-coloured quilts pop more. I would love to participate in a swap of string quilt scraps if anyone knows of one happening or is interested in a private swap?

I am so excited about the impending release of Hunky Dory by Chez Moi for Moda. I just LOVE this fabric & have a quilt in my mind already :D The colours are so lovely & feminine, not to mention the florals!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Hello? *taps computer screen* You still there? :D

I am so sorry for just disappearing there for a while! Life got hectic, and blogging hit the bottom of a mile long list of things I would love to but just ran out of time to do! I apologise to anyone who actually reads this especially my bloggy/net buddies - I have been looking at all the wonderful work you've been doing & feeling very inspired.
It's not all been lazing around on the grass & house-workly duties! Once TAFE and Christmas was out of the way, I finally got back into doing some creative things around home that I'll be sharing over the next few days.
The first thing I have to show you is a 'display' for my buffet in the lounge. As part of my Cert 4 in Visual Arts & Contemporary Craft, I had to do a drawing class. One day I did a charcoal drawing of Darcy that I just fell in love with. So I built a little frame & sign display - it's quite in time for Valentine's Day - being a XO kiss hug.

I used Heather Bailey's Freshcut rub ons for a super simple, very effective result. So now I get to display a piece of my 'art' everyday.
See you tomorrow!