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Showing posts from 2013

Making cups cozy

There's nothing lovelier than being able to hold a big mug in both hands, filled with the most perfectly brewed milky tea, except perhaps if its wrapped up snuggly in a cup cozy.

I've been whipping up cup cozies the past few weeks. My first effort (based on this pattern) was for my CWA meeting mug. It has a built in coaster bottom - yay!

I adjusted the same pattern slightly to make this one for my lovely friend Nic in her favourite colours pink & red.

On a roll, I devised my own pattern for this special birthday present for Olive's teacher. Her favourite colours are pink and black.

I picked up a great tip from here about using rubber grip mat to line the cozy with to stop it slipping down. It worked a treat on the wrap around version.

Back in the swing of sewing

I have an old sewing machine passed onto me by my sister.

There is no manual so I haven't been able to work out how to change the machine foot or progress beyond simple straight or zigzag stitches.

Today I found my machine's manual online and instantly, the veil of mystique fluttered away.

I have my sewing mojo back.

I whipped up this sweet little softie for a special birthday gift this week.

Suddenly that quilting kit stashed under my craft table doesn't seem so impossible now.

I also aced my first attempt at back stitch embroidery. How cute is that face?????

Life is good.

Pretty little rose brooch

To celebrate my spring cleaning progress, I picked up the latest issue of Homespun magazine yesterday.

Inside was the cutest pattern for crocheted rose rings.

I thought they'd be equally gorgeous as a small brooch.

I adapted the pattern slightly, using 3ply cotton for the bloom and embroidery cotton for the leaves. I was running out of green so I eliminated a couple of the leaves.

So dainty!

Makes me wonder whether people would buy them.........?

Four hens a laying

Hooray! All of our hens are finally laying!

That means 4 eggs a day!


Yesterday morning I experienced the joy that is a poached, fresh egg - literally only hours old.

So happy to be a backyard farmer.

Perfect Banana Bread {Recipe}

I like to think myself as being an organised person.

I keep bags of chopped-up ripe bananas in the freezer, ready to make banana bread and muffins on a whim.

I love this banana bread because it's the real deal - not banana cake masquerading as banana bread.

It holds its shape when sliced, toasts well and I strongly suspect it will be amazing pan fried in a little butter for a decadent Sunday breakfast…..

RECIPE: Perfect Banana Bread
A simple and easy banana bread that should be in everyone’s recipe repertoire. Adapted from Margaret Fulton’s recipe in “Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopedia of Food & Cookery”

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten well

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (omit if you have allergy concerns)


Preheat oven to 180C.Grease and line base of a medium loaf pan (21 x 11cm).In a large bowl, mix the bananas and eggs together.Sift over the flours and bicarb soda and add the…

Brightening up a rainy day

The sunny start to spring was short lived. Today it rained and rained. In fact, it's going to rain all weekend.

To cheer myself up I wore my red shoes. Mission accomplished.

Counting sheep bunting

I'm so proud of this gorgeous bunting I made for my sister's baby shower.

I had been working on a baby blanket but as the deadline drew nearer, I knew I'd never finish it in time.

I'd spied these cute crocheted sheep over at Pardon my Chaos and had tagged it as a future project.

A test-make proved to me that I could whip them up fast, using wool already in my stash.

I modified the pattern slightly in that I made them single sided instead of stitching two together.

I borrowed a bunting string pattern from a crochet magazine and put the two of them together.

Aren't they darling?

The perfect jelly slice {Recipe}

Since joining the Country Women's Association, I've noticed a change in my baking style.

I've turned retro.

I'm not interested in elaborate fondant covered cakes anymore.

Give me a slice of old fashioned chocolate cake or a classic iced cupcake anyday.

It's all about flavour and appreciating the cook's efforts.

This weekend I challenged myself to make the perfect jelly slice.

A packet of biscuits, melted butter, condensed milk, some gelatine and a packet of raspberry jelly crystals - the result was amazing.

Mission accomplished.

RECIPE: Perfect Jelly Slice

1 packet Arnotts Niece biscuits 170g butter, melted

1 packet raspberry jelly crystals
1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 tin condensed milk 1 tblsp + 1 tsp powdered gelatine
1/2 cup hot water

Start this recipe the day before you want to serve it. This will guarantee that the jelly has set properly.

Grease and line a slice tin (minimum depth 3cm) or a 20cm square casserole dish with baking paper. The 20cm square will g…

Pear, Quinoa & Raspberry Muffins {Recipe}

I'm not really a fan of quinoa. Like a lot of you, I jumped on the superfood bandwagon to see what all the fuss was about but when it came to the taste, I just went meh. I think it smells too, but maybe that's just me.

Unsurprisingly I have quinoa flakes languishing in my pantry. Finding something I could 'hide' them in became a mission. Hello PQR (pear, quinoa & raspberry) muffins.

Muffins are not only easy to make, they're also the perfect lunchbox treat because they are completely freezable. I've made a big batch these school holidays ready for the next school term.

I prefer to make my muffins with wholemeal flour. That way there is absolutely no confusion with cupcakes (which to my mind a lot of those cafe bought-in muffins seem to be masquerading as). Teamed up with quinoa flakes and oats, they have real texture. Pear chunks, raspberries and a modest amount of brown sugar make them just sweet enough.

And while they might sound healthy (and they are ki…

5 steps to stay on top of what's in the freezer

A couple of days ago my deep freezer was caked in ice. Mystery bags of long forgotten food lurked at the bottom; their once snappy labels fallen off.

I've been talking about emptying the freezer for a while now but it took longer than I'd anticipated.
Now that its finally clean and frost free, I'm determined to stay on top of what's inside.
These are the 5 steps I'm following to stay on top of what's in my freezers.
1. Stock up on freezer containers and bags. I bought a 50-pack of oblong takeaway containers, multi sized ziplock bags and multi sized freezer bags.
2. Buy good quality permanent markers.  I've tried using adhesive labels on containers but they either fall off while in the freezer or leave a sticky residue on the containers when you wash them afterwards. Permanent markers stay put and are easy to read on frozen items. My marker of choice is the Sharpie Pro (they write on wet surfaces!)

3. Make a  "What's in the freezer" list and laminate i…

Yarn along

The lovely Ginny over at Small Things created Yarn Along, a blogger link up for the yarn obsessed, to share what they've been making and reading each week. Although it's essentially a knitting club, Ginny has welcomed crocheters as well so here I am.

Last week I finished my entry for the Country Women's Association (CWA) of Victoria State Exhibition - a red cowl. It's been entered into the Scarves category and I'll find out next Friday how I went.

I made the cowl out of 12ply acrylic yarn and only took a couple of days to make up. The pattern, from the 1st issue of Simply Crochet magazine, includes a button placket but I decided to keep this one plain.

What I love about the pattern is the mock cable effect. So do my fellow CWA branch members - they've asked me to teach them how to do it!

If you're on Ravelry, you can get more information about the pattern here.

I'm also reading about CWA. On my bedside table is "Great Australian CWA Stories" by Bil…

Sweet Swap 2013 & my Mini Rum Balls {Recipe}

One of the greatest pleasures of baking is sharing the spoils. I bake for family, friends, neighbours and charity.

When I found out about the Sweet Swap, I couldn't sign up fast enough. Linking up with fellow Australian food theme bloggers to share some sweet love and get a little in return - who wouldn't want to get sweet parcels in the mail?

It's been like Xmas in July.

The same week I got my matches I accidently killed my blog. Having already committed to the swap, I resolved to start my blog again so I could take part properly. Organiser Amanda was very understanding - thank you.

Choosing what to make was probably the hardest part. It needed to be a completely new recipe that I'd never blogged about, taste fabulous and be resilient enough to survive being posted in the mail. I decided on Di-licious Mini Rum Balls.

These rum balls were particularly special because I used walnuts I’d handpicked from my brother in law’s house in Ballarat.

I must confess that up until…

Lemony Sour Cream Cakelets {Recipe}

I love it when a plan comes together.

I had a huge tub of sour cream sitting in the fridge needing to be used and a couple of tired lemons languishing in the fruit bowl.
Inspired by the success of my one bowl,1st Prize Chocolate Cake, I threw everything in, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
The cake gods were smiling down on me.
These cakelets are good in every way a lemon cake ought to be: Tangy and moist with a zingy lemon icingThey’re soooooooooo easy to make.They get better with time – make them a day ahead and continue to enjoy any leftovers the day after.

They'd be perfect for a Mother's Day afternoon tea, dressed up with some sugar flowers.
I call them cakelets because they're small and not baked in papers. A cake release spray like Wilton’s Easy Bake is your best friend here. If you're nervous about your cakes sticking, bake them in pretty cases instead. It’s your tea party after all!

RECIPE: Lemony Sour Cream Cakelets Zingy, tangy and moist little cakes (cakel…

First Prize Chocolate Cake {Recipe}

Everybody needs a good basic chocolate cake recipe and they certainly don't get any easier than this.

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix it together for 3 minutes. That’s it.

No fancy baking super powers required (and certainly a lot easier than a packet mix!)

Better still it tastes great, cuts like a dream, and it makes two loaf cakes so you can serve one up for morning tea and pop the other one in the freezer for a rainy day.

Did I mention that it's a prize winning recipe too? This darling little cake won me first prize in the Chocolate Cake category at the 2013 Mornington Peninsula Group CWA Competition. Just sayin.....

Recipe: 1st Prize Chocolate Cake

Recipe adapted from Merle Parish’s two chocolate cake recipes in Merle’s Kitchen (2012)

1¾ cups self raising flour, sifted
1¼ cups caster sugar
½ cup cocoa, sifted
2 tsp bicarbonate soda, sifted
pinch salt
125g unsalted butter, softened and chopped up
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extra…