Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Rift In My Relationship With Chalkboard Paint

Today was one of those trying days.  One of those days where the kids are screaming (and screaming), the weather stinks, work is ramping up and all you want to do is crawl into a big chair with a good book and hide!

Alas, perhaps a quick craft with my favourite medium will put my chi (qi? oh whatever) back in balance.

....and perhaps not...

All I have to say is I did read the instructions before attempting this...

Looking good so far right?   


Note to self:
Always remove template BEFORE the chalkboard paint dries.

Sorry folks, packed in it after that.

Chi in good balance now after a long hot bath (obviously after the kids were in bed).

Now off to bed with that book.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Another Jewellery Makeover

I picked up this below hideous necklace at the local Goodwill.  I loved the colour and cut of the beads and looked forward to getting them off the terrible black leather string.

I rebeaded them to hang down and tied them to a complimentary bead strand that I made.  I then added the whole thing to a necklace that I currently own that has several strands of colourless beads but that needed a facelift. 

Not bad right?  I love it.


Monday, 27 February 2012

The Diaper Tricycle: So Long Diaper Cakes. How Cute is This?!

Yesterday's baby shower deserved a diaper upgrade and here it is. I actually found this craft to be much easier and less time to create than the traditional alternative.  I also loved that very few elastics were involved which keeps the whole project as newborn friendly as possible. 

There are many many places for you to get complete instructions as how to create this on the internet (search diaper tricycle) so I will not recreate the wheel but below are a few play by plays.

Used: 48 number 1 diapers, 3 bibs, 2 receiving blankets, 1 bottle, 1 pair socks, ribbon and elastics.
Note: in each "wheel" there is one centre rolled diaper and 15 diapers around it.

Absolutely adorable and very easy.

Go them!


Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Diaper Cake: The Early Version

Don't you just love looking back at the crafting items you have done over the years?  I have a baby shower tomorrow and it made me think about the diaper cake my mother and I created for my sister all those years ago.  Sure its cute but my head is filling with ideas of what I would do if I had done it today.  Even your crafting improves with time....its like watching your wardrobe and hairstyles evolve over the years but seriously less painful!

Have a wonderful Sunday all.  No post for me tomorrow. 

See you Monday.


Friday, 24 February 2012

The Secret's Out; My Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Is Not So Secret

Everyone LOVES my chocolate chip cookies and believe you me it has taken me a long long time to find the "perfect" recipe.  The cookies are light and soft without being undercooked...I really dislike when cookies are undercooked to make you think they are moist...yuck.

The recipe isn't a secret in fact when people ask me for it and I send them to the Chipits Bag they laugh.  Yes, the best chocolate chip cookie recipe out there is on the back of the Chipits Bag.

There is one little secret that makes my cookies turn out spectacularly and personally I think they should add some Coles Notes on the bottom of the recipe to help people out.  Bakers know this little tip but I would bet that the average home baker does not.

"Creaming" together the butter and sugar in my opinion makes or breaks this recipe.  Creaming incorporates air bubbles and traps them in the fat (butter) to help the mixture rise in the oven.  Short long...throw this thing on high until the volume increases and "looks" lighter.  Now it is possible to over cream so don't go wild.

Once baked keep the cookies in an airtight container which will keep them moist and soft longer.

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

Mmmmm, enjoy.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Quick Asparagus, Panchetta And Spinach Pasta. Doesn't Get Better/Easier Than This

Last week at book club one of the girls mentioned that the group should swap recipes as she was looking for quick homemade meals.  I thought to myself that is TOTALLY what my cooking is all about and if she was looking perhaps some of you may also be interested.

So here's one.

I have returned to pasta after many single years of shunning it.  With many people moving towards eating less and less meat (although this dish does have a bit of pork) I have reintroduced it into our lives....reintroduced also because my kids will eat it too.

This meal takes, no lie, roughly 15-20 minutes total to make. 

In a frying pan I add generously a very delicate olive oil, chopped onions, asparagus and chopped ham pieces.  I cook just until the asparagus is that brilliant green colour and still crunchy.  I then add my cooked pasta (I love angel hair), more oil if I need it and then fresh spinach.  I continue in the pan until the spinach is wilted, plate and then top with lots of fresh parmesan.

Fresh, very simple and healthy.  Try varying up the ingredients...for me it's whatever is in the fridge that night.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Milestone Reached And Thank You


Today we hit a personal milestone on the blog and I wanted to thank you for following and being interested in my ramblings, oddities and crafting/cooking/baking pursuits.

As always I love to hear from you.


Posted below is the final Contruction Party Post.

Kids Construction Birthday Party Part 3

I had the typical party fare at this gathering for kids.  Pizza, munchies, sandwiches, cake etc etc.  I didn't realise until later that I hadn't taken any pictures of the food in between the running around and making sure that everyone was happy.  My girlfriend did happen to get a few shots of the cookies I made, although I half finished them as they were baked but but not iced.

What we did instead, and something you may find helpful in a cookie crunch, is we painted them with Luster Dust and vanilla.  Luster Dust if you have never used it before is a sparkly powder that you add to any liquid with an alcohol like base i.e. various extracts, hard alcohols etc. and then paint onto your surface.  The alcohol base sets up for quick evaporation and thus drying of whatever you painted which is perfect when you are creating delicate sugar flowers etc.  You can see below the outcome, which I thought looked great for something I really didn't have time for.  My only complaint was I didn't like my favourite sugar cookie recipe altered by all the vanilla we painted on.  Oh well and thanks JR for your help with these on that crazy day!!

My local bake shop named Bale Sale currently has a construction themed window and in this shot you can see what my cookies should have looked like if I had had better time management skills.
Check out those dump truck cookies!  Fabulous.

I also LOVE this cake from Bake Sale and as it kicks the butt of the cake I made for the party I am too embarrassed to even post it.  Nice.

Finally, to close the coverage of the construction party here is the back of my son's birthday could I possibly resist?!


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Kids Construction Birthday Party Part 2

Here are several more photos from the Construction Party, the first being the invite that I created for the affair. 

The goal of the rest of the photos is to show you yet again how even the best of intentions can go so terribly terribly wrong.

How can you have a construction party without an area dedicated to digging?! I really wanted to set up a sand station outside but being that I had some major concerns about the weather I brought the sandbox in and filled it with packing popcorn. Now I knew it would be a disaster but not to this extent! I did look at other options but given the volume I needed this was the most cost savy retrospect, the sand may have been better.

Photos of the Digging Station:
1. At the time this photo was taken I was very impressed with my resourcefulness.

2. During this time I was glad to see the kids enjoying the station but starting to worry that the parents will never let them return to my home. These packing kernels broke into even the tiniest of pieces and were full on up the kids pants. Oh....thank you static clean for making this day a nightmare for all!

3. Okay, so not a photo of the digging station (birthday boy with pinata) but take a look at the floor in the background!! My whole house what like that.

I used a shop-vac for a week exaggeration needed on this one folks.

We had a wonderful time obviously; with kids you can judge the success of your party by how long you are cleaning up afterwards.

Tomorrow, construction cake and cookies.


Bulldozer Pinata

Monday, 20 February 2012

Kids Construction Birthday Party Part 1

This Construction Party was for my son's second birthday.  This party was more about all the little boys having fun than it was about look and presentation as you will see in the days to come.  I am in a unique situation as this house will be renovated shortly and as such we don't mind it getting beat up by a heard of little boys which most certainly is not the case for 99.9% of the population.  Please keep that in mind as you look over these party pictures and I will make suggestions as to how you can alter things to be more "house-friendly".

First, I decorated the outside of our home to look like a construction site.  I begged my baby brother to sit outside and pretend like he was sleeping on the job.  When guests arrived he ushered them in and directed them to sign in with the "site supervisor".  That was a huge hit.  Side note....I asked him recently if he would pretend to be a sailor for my other son's first birthday....lets just say he is a little concerned he is playing out the Village People on my front porch (his girlfriend and I think it's hilarious).  Love you bro.

Second, I made out of cardboard boxes a fleet of Construction Trucks for the kids to run around in.  The more I did the better I got and although I could have gone overboard on these I didn't bother knowing they were going to get pretty beat up (and they did!!).  Fun right?!  The basic directions for these I got from

Sourced items:
Construction sign, construction tape, kids plastic hard hats and birthday boy construction vest from

Construction signs
Scholars Choice

Mini Pylons and stick reflectors

Check in tomorrow for more on this party.

Night all.


Apologies No Post Yesterday

Hi all,

Just a quick note to apologise for not having a post yesterday.  I have a wee one with double ear infections and the last two nights we have been up with him screaming and pulling at his ears, poor guy.  I think the drugs have finally kicked in and we are on the mend but I did not have the energy last night to get on the computer.

So sorry.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Whole Chicken In The Crock-Pot Who Knew?!

If you are like me you struggle with juggling all the demands of work and family.  Of the latter the biggest thing I struggle with is ensuring that we eat healthy and home made meals as I am very leery of salt and sometimes sugar content of prepared foods.

My sister-in-law is the zen master of family cooking...well cooking in general and taught me this ridiculously simple way to cook a whole chicken.  With a culinary background she is always amazing us and is actually working on a gluten free cook book which is turning out to be a serious page turner!  (More on that later.)  So it was she that convinced me to try the whole chicken in the Crock-Pot, trust me both the butcher and I had bets on it not turning out but we were wrong.

This was ridiculously easy; see for yourself.
1.  She told me to marinate the chicken and keep it in the fridge overnight.  Right, totally didn't happen, threw on some spices and margarine 5 minutes before I put it in the pot.
2.  Lay down in the bottom of the pot some onions, carrots and potatoes (chicken on top)....I didn't have much room so I put some carrots and onions down only.
3.  Absolutely no liquid goes into the Crock-Pot.  Trust me when I tell you this was the most difficult step to follow as I really really thought some liquid should have gone in.  Wrong again.
4.  I kept it in the pot for 7 hours on high (this may vary slightly with your pot so always check it) and the chicken was not only wonderfully moist, it literally fell off the bone.  The first picture above shows the final product with all the natural juices (remember I didn't add any liquid).

I don't think dinner can get any easier than this!

Give it a try and thanks FD, you rock, can't wait for the book!


Friday, 17 February 2012

Candy Dessert Trays

Have you ever considered putting down a tray of mixed candy at the end of a meal with guests instead of a traditional dessert?  When I do something like this I usually include a tray of fruit and biscuits to ensure that I please everyone.  It's always a pleasant surprise for my friends and a huge hit.

Just a thought.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Perfect For A Girls Party Favor: The Hairband Pop

I love planning girls parties and coming up with ideas like this is the reason why.  I think the Hairband Pop is adorable and perfect for a take-me-home after a girls birthday party.  Really easy to make, not junk food and something that 99% of little girls use.  I like the messy look but you can just as easily make it look more structured.  I also buy the thick hairbands as you obviously need less of them to cover the ball but they may not be as practical for the hair of little little girls.

A small note:  I used a 2 inch Styrofoam ball in the above and if I had remembered how big these things get with all the hairbands I would have chosen to go smaller.  Careful not to go too small as you don't want to have to try wrapping the hairbands twice as the bands end up being not the easiest to work with.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

DIY Gift Bag. It Really Is This Easy!

I just love that I can completely personalise the gifts that I give people right down to the paper and look of the gift bag (which I am a huge fan of over wrapping!).

I couldn't believe how easy this DIY gift bag was and it literally took me 5 minutes.

You need: a heavy duty gift wrapping paper, something to wrap to create your bag i.e. a book, double sided tape, fancy scissors, a hole punch and ribbon or rope to make the handles.

To Do:
1.  Cut the paper as though you are going to wrap your mold.
2.  Fold the paper around the mold loosely and secure with double sided tape (if its not lose enough you won't be able to get your "mold" out of the bag.
3.  Fold one end closed as though you were wrapping the mold.  Note: Use lots of tape here!
4.  After removing your mold, pinch in both sides and then fold up the back of the bag.  See the photos above.
5.  Use your scalloped scissors to finish off the top of the bag.
6.  Hole punch both sides and tie your ribbon/rope through to make your handles.

Done and perfect.

Give it a try.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Love Day!!

Happy Valentines Day All!  I hope you had a wonderful day and all your objects of affection enjoyed your crafting wares. 

I had a wonderful day but was completely upstaged by my mother whom brought over the above packages for our family.  Each bag held beautiful items, my absolute favourite was the cooking aprons for myself and my eldest son...who doesn't need an Elmo apron?! cute!

She also crafted the bags (yes I know aren't they fab?!) and the cards which we will cherish always.  The bag how to will be tomorrows craft as I can't believe how simple they were to make and probably something worth filing in your mind for gift emergencies.

So until tomorrow. 

Night all,

xoxoxxoxox (extras today)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentine Sucker Fun!! Who is the coolest mom?!

Aren't these just too much?!  Hilarious!

I found a printable template for a "photo booth" at Printable Tip Junkie (credit to the Paper Dolls Shoppe) and instead used them to make my Valentine Suckers "way cooler"!

You can download it here.

I printed the pdf and decided the template was a bit too small so I folded each one in half and then cut them larger to suit my needs.  I then traced them onto foam sheets, cut them out and attached my suckers by poking them through.

Love it!  Oh, yes Mrs. can have one too, these tricks aren't just for the kids.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Valentine Candy Kabobs

Easy, fun and beautiful.  Not much more to say about this great idea. 

Package them with love.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ugh Never Again! Brownie Conversation Hearts

Serves me right for trying to do a craft like this with two little ones awake and at my feet the WHOLE time.  Oh it was just awful for both myself and them! 

It seemed like a good idea.  Stacked conversation brownie hearts covered in fondant (store bought)...okay so it sounds complicated now but at the time it should have been a breeze!  I cheated and made the brownies from a mix and baked them in a small cookie tray (next time, if there is one, I may try this with cake instead).  I wanted to use the brownies as I thought it would crumble less than cake and end with a "prettier" product.  Note:  Make sure you butter and flour the pan very very well as I had some issues getting the brownie out of it.  I used a cookie cutter to make the heart shapes and melted the fondant with a bit of water in the microwave and added my colour.  I made the sandwich with a bit of the fondant as paste and then poured the fondant over the sandwich to get an even and smooth icing.  Once they were almost dry (I should have waited until they were totally dry) I used gel to put my sayings on them. 

That is the version without all the kid crying, me bribing etc etc.  Finally I gave up, took them both in the other room and focused only on them.  I was sitting on my knees (almost in a ball) in front of my 11 month old and I put my head down slightly so I could look up to get a better look at all the fondant that was hanging in my hair.  At that moment my beautiful son put his forehead to mine and we both smiled.  He stayed like that for probably a minute but for me it was an eternity as everything stood still and I saw only him. 

When he pulled away to pick up a toy I realised I was missing my other son and it was "a little too quiet".  I made my way back to the kitchen to find him sitting on the floor eating the cake I had dropped (and truthfully forgot about between all the crying and such).  Now can you imagine the chaos that was today?!  I literally walked over this wee cake and kept on going.

My son...."Mmmm, it's good!" 
Me  "That's enough.  Up please."
Him "What a mess!  I help clean."  I don't need to imagine how he would help me do this.

PS The fondant on this cake stained my floor.  Thank goodness this house is being gutted in a couple of months!