Monday, 25 October 2010

Wholegrain, silver beet, fresh herb and cheese pizza

 Jeri brought home some silverbeet from the school kitchen garden. He nagged me all weekend to cook with it so when I made some freshly ground wheat bread dough, he was excited to be able to make pizza. We picked parsely and pizza thyme from the garden as well. He grated the cheese, spread the dough, stirred the tomato base and spread it on the pizzas, then sprinkled on the toppings very carefully.

 Ready for the oven, and don't forget me Mum!

 Mmmm! golden delicious!
 All of them couldn't wait to eat them so we had an early lunch. Jeri packed a piece to take to his Grandma who gave it s score of 10/10 (of course!). Tasty AND healthy!

Friday, 22 October 2010

What's in their lunchbox?

This morning for some reason Iwas pottering around when I realised the bread was all eaten and I hadn't made more! Eek! I forgot I cut up most of the bread last night to make garlic butter croutons for the caesar salad we had for dinner. (my version with fresh steamed green beans, shaved parmesan, bacon, salad, topped with a poached egg and whole egg mayo).

With kids due to leave in 30mins, it was buggy pikelets to the rescue! I remember when the kids were little there was a cute Welsh cartoon about a family of ducks called Wil Cwac Cwac (Will quack quack) who had wasp porridge for breakfast and mother duck would offer spider cake with snail cream for dessert! Quack-Quaaaaaack! lol Here's a little excerpt I found.

But luckily these bug pikelets are buggy in shape and not content (unless there are weavils I don't know about).

A few months ago while trawling the net I came across Nordic Ware (US), famous for their Bundt tins. Amongst their fabulous cake and muffin tins were a collection of silver dollar pancake pans. I bought the bug one for a novelty lunch idea. There is a plain and barnyard animal one too.

 While I was on a roll, I thought I would bring out a few other lunchtime novelties Bento style with some flower cutters and a boiled egg press from ebay.

 I also cut some cheese flowers. The problem with having such lovely fresh eggs is that they are hard to peel so the bunny is a little messy around the cheeks.
So here are two lunchboxes packed ready to go. The stainless steel lunchboxes I bought at a Mitchell's camping store. Outbound brand. They come in a set of three. Shown here are the large and medium tins. There is also a smaller one. The tins are easy to clean and easy to open.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Spiral Skirt draft - finish, stash or toss?

There was a challenge on the Crafty Mamas forum to draft and make a spiral wrap skirt like the one shown on Craftster recently.

Being familiar with the Redondo by Farbenmix I thought it would be a snap.
I drafted the spiral using my French Curve. Being a big person I thought it would be better to start the skirt out with straighter panels but now I am not so sure.

I cut the pieces from an old single sheet, then sewed the pieces together.
Here is a sneak peek:

It isn't finished yet, there's still the waistband and a rolled hem to do.

But I'm not happy with it as it is. I have learned something about the process and shaping and had a bit of fun in the process but I'm glad I used an old sheet for this one. I'm not sure if I will finish it.
I'm thinking going with someone else's pattern might have been a good idea. Why do I always try to re-invent the wheel?What do you do when you hit an impasse? Stash it or toss it? I hate the thought of tossing but the thought of more clutter is equally unwelcome.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Hearts and flowers

I finally finished a new display card concept.

I'm progressing on the denim jacket - it is now deconstructed!
And a rather warm day today giving the deodorant a workout.  I'm impressed! Yes, a little wet when i was hot but soon dried off and no nasty smells.
Actually my best friend must be Charlie Brown cos I smell rather like Peppermint Patty LOL!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Our Daily Bread

I'm failing a bit at this blogging every day malarky! So in the interests of at least blogging every second day, here is a pic of what was our lunch the last two days. I took the pics yesterday but then my camera batteries were flat and needed charging and there for brought the whole blogging concept to a standstill.
I think that maybe what was 3 loaves should have been maybe 4-5? :D But they were very tasty nonetheless and I have to report on my new/old bread tin and say that the bread kept beautifully and was fresh and moist and elastic today too.

Isn't this a dinky little bread tin? It's the perfect size for a little gift giving.

I have some great blog ideas, well, I like to think so lol. It's the whole making time to get them published that holds things up. If anyone has some tips on blogging I'd love to hear them.

I am progressing on the deodorant front. I found some great sites and info today that I would like to share soon so stay tuned!

Today I also stopped impulsively at a little op-shop and picked up this little Abercrombie and Fitch denim jacket for $4.00. Size Xsmall. No way that will fit me, but I have a cunning plan.... (love Black Adder and Baldric) stay tuned for that too.
Nothing like an impromptu shot across my laptop with my feet up and toes sticking up in the background :P

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Build up, or tear down?

 Today I am sharing a little story I enjoyed,  taken from a recent conference talk by a leader of my (lds) church.

In our day-to-day actions, it is often the small and simple things that will have a long-lasting impact (see Alma 37:6–7). What we say, how we act, and how we choose to react will influence not only ourselves but also those around us. We can build up, or we can tear down. A simple and positive example is a story told about my grandmother. She sent one of her young children to buy some eggs. The trusted child was probably joyfully walking home along the road, but most of the eggs were broken when the child arrived home. A friend of the family was there and admonished my grandmother to scold the child for behaving so badly. Instead, Grandmother calmly and wisely said, “No, that will not make the eggs whole again. We will simply use what we can and make some pancakes that we can enjoy together.”

And that reminds me that I need to find where my hens have hidden their latest secret egg cache tomorrow!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Vintage fete goodies!

There 's one thing I love better than Op shopping and that's fete shopping. Today's fete was one of the best of the year. One I have attended for quite a few years and that has never failed to produce interesting things. The first thing I picked up was the double boiler pot below. I had no idea what it was, other than it looked very interesting. The old bloke on the white elephant stall came up and told me all about it. It is a glue pot. In the little tin below is the glue, the original old stuff made from cow's hooves. Fascinating. The little green pot is so pretty - I love green, and will be a feature on my display shelves in my craft room.

The second thing I picked up was a most AWESOME nutmeg grinder! I forgot to take a pic but I will add one in shortly. Just twist apart, pop a whole nutmeg into the grinder and twist the handle on top. the nutmeg is then ground against a blade and the powder falls through the slot. Probably my favourite find of the day!

 Unfortunately you can't read the inscription on the bottom which says where it was made (USA). I did like the part where it said 3rd planet from the sun!

Some dear old lady has obviously given up cake decorating and making by the supplies filling big cardboard boxes. I fished out a nearly complete set of round tins, a springform bundt time and a nice size square tin as well as an old enamel wash basin. Over on another trestle amongst the kitchenware i found an old gill measure. Too curious to leave that. I have been hoping to find  a pastry maker so snapped this one up, and found an interesting but rather deadly vegetable peeler.
 I found some vacola clips, lucky as I am rather short on those, plus a very cute china tea infuser and a few lovely picture books. Of course who could resist REAL GOLD hehehe Panned from someone's holiday at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. Quite a nice little haul there. So far I think this all cost me $8.
 Inside the shed, I picked up a stainless steel bread bin again something I had been wanting, a cute vintage kitchen timer in the perfect colour for my kitchen. And perfect as my  oven bell has been playing up lately. And below this pic is a set of bias carpet bowls in a suitcase. Perfect for some family fun. The bowls were the most expensive thing at $7 for the set.

I saw some shabby old suitcases complete with shabby travel stickers in the hall, but was able to resist those.

 In the craft room, the gray and pink vintage beauty pictured higher, was sitting filled with fabric scraps and crafting odds and ends, but I wanted the suitcase! And it was mine for only $2.00.
Apart from these items, I bought a vintage Olivetti portable typewriter in a zip up case for $7 and a freshly drycleaned booster seat to make it easier shifting seats between the two cars, now the new child seat rules have come into play.

Becci is already planning a multi level birthday cake next month :)

Friday, 15 October 2010

My laboratory..make your own natural deodorant.

 Here is a partial assembly of what I used in my brew. How I would have loved to have had all this as a child. I was always making secret potions with anything I could lay my hands on.
I had read in a few places around the net about baking soda based deodorants. It was on my list of things to try one day, and that day was yesterday. So I had a long list of different recipes I had collected and being my typical self, I decided to try my own thing.
Many of the recipes used arrowroot powder in equal quantities with baking soda. They were then mixed up with coconut oil to a thick cream consistency. I wasn't keen on the arrowroot powder, as most was actually tapioca powder. I didn't fancy using a starch on my skin which I thought would be more likely to induce some funky fungus or something lol. Some more thinking and googling and I found some alternative recipes that used clay such as kaolin or bentonite. Another using zinc oxide (hey, it would keep your pits from burning if they ever actually saw the light of day lol). I used a minimum of the zinc as I was not convinced it wouldn't be bright white. As you can see on my fingers it ended up fairly sheer.
 So here is the final result. I made as small a batch as I could as it is experimental. It contains coconut oil for it's natural antibacterial powers and non greasy feel, kaolin clay for dryness and natural astringency, less baking soda than is usually called for as some people report a rash from continued use. baking soda creates an environment that bacteria cannot thrive in. Added to that is a slew of other oils and extracts. Calendula for skin conditioning, grapefruit seed extract as a natural preservative and bactericide, peppermint oil, benzoin oil, tea tree oil, and a touch of neem oil (phew that stinks on it's own! I'm trying to avoid that kind of funky smell here lol, but it has many excellent qualities).
 All the oils have natural anti-bacterial qualities amongst others.

And how did it work? Not too bad actually. Yesterday was quite humid and despite feeling damp under my arms in a hall full of people watching my daughter's play, there was no offensive smell. Not perfect in the morning, but OK. I think there is more improvement needed yet so I'm glad it is such a small batch. Once I have it perfected I'll happily share the recipe.
The final question is probably why? Why would I even bother? Well, probably more than anything I like not having to buy something from big multinational corporations and supermarkets. One more step towards self sufficiency and independence, and, just because I can, and can make something without all the nasties and petrochemicals! And of course, it's fun :)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Stop and smell the roses.

Literally. Stop and smell the roses. No manufactured perfume can smell so sweet! Take a breather and indulge your senses.

I spy in my garden a beautiful rose. 
A Double Delight, for the eye and the nose.

 Come closer,
 And Closer,
 Come closer still,
 Breathe deeply sweet fragrance........... a moment held still.
A self portrait of sorts... I have more smelly things to talk about tomorrow, the pleasant and the not so pleasant.:)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Candy Corn Croquenbouche

Ben was being difficult choosing a birthday cake. He didn't want one. We finally compromised on a caramel popcorn tower or croquenbouche.
The croquenbouche from recent Masterchef fame were made of profriteroles or macaroons. The name actually comes from the French words croque en bouche meaning 'crunch in the mouth'. I think this fits the name quite nicely.

I used this basic recipe from Taste for caramel popcorn minus the pecans

  • Caramel

  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
Becci and I made 5 batches of caramel and countless batches of popcorn to make enough for the croquenbouche. I'm not sure how many balls of popcorn we made, but there were a lot!

We started on an extra large glass platter and built from there.
 And eventually reached a peak about 70cm high
 We tried spinning some caramel around the outside with mixed success. I think toffee would work better.
 One candle planted on top to blow out.

One second and one karate chop later while I turned to put the camera down...

Lucky there is a lot of family to munch through it all and I think the kids will be taking some for recess tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Surprise! A new store logo

I have been working on this for a while. Finally I have something to show you. A fun collage showcasing some clippies, buttons and vintage cotton reels and tape.

Do you prefer the old or the new? yeah, I know there are wrinkles, but it's the real deal people :P if I wanted perfect I would have used a rendered graphic. :D

That was a lot harder than it should have been and took a lot longer than it should have but I finally had to download a new photo editing program and got it done. Now i can use my brain for other things.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Upcycled denim skirt ---->A new schoolbag, minutes before midnight.

 This denim looks better than it ever did on my backside. Yes, this was once a denim skirt of mine that I loved but was uncomfortable to wear.I promised Sarah (nearly 12) a new schoolbag before the holidays ended. That was today. And I kept my promise, by a few minutes! It is quite basic, no pockets other than those on the flap from the original rear skirt pockets. The waistband makes up the strap, the button in the middle, stitched around to reinforce. It has a cherry print lining and a cute dangly bead pin which says "dream, live, create" which I bought from Etsy a long time ago.

I hope she likes it! I only broke one denim needle while sewing which was a pretty good effort really ;) If she doesn't like it, I'll be happy to keep it myself. Tomorrow we might attach some velour or sparkle iron-ons but I will let her choose what and where.