Archive | July, 2013

Topchips, chip maker- A Review

28 Jul

    I would like to start by saying this is an independent review.

I love chips, but unfortunately they don’t fit into the healthy eating style I like to follow.

I saw these chip makers “Topchips” from mastrad a while ago and have been coveting it ever since. It made the outrageous claim to produce fat-free, crispy chips in 3 minutes and in the microwave no less. If this proved to be true it would mean I could have chips without compromising healthy eating.

Purple Potato Chips Maker -TopChips Chip Maker

image courtesy of

Last week I bought the Topchips chip maker. It comes in several colours; purple, green, red and charcoal and includes two trays, a super sharp mandolin and a tool to hold the vegetables so you don’t slice yourself on the blade.

My first attempt with Topchips was a bit of a fail. I sliced my sweet potato with the mandolin and it gave perfect thin slices. It was so much easier than trying to evenly slice it with a knife like I have previously done to make chips in the oven. I put my slices on the trays and microwaved them for the recommended time of three minutes. They were not crispy but still tasted great. I was somewhat discouraged and thought I had misspent my money.

Today I gave it a second attempt.

This time I used potato. I didn’t bother peeling either the sweet potato or the potato as I like a more rustic style chip with the skin still on.

I cooked these ones for four minutes and ta-da! I got crispy chips.

I added a sprinkling of sea salt and they were delicious, even better than store-bought chips. The potato flavour was clean and present not disguised by oil, preservatives and whatever else goes into processed chips.

Clean up is easy…I just popped everything in the dishwasher, but if you don’t have a dishwasher a simple rinse with hot water would be enough as it really doesn’t create much mess.

Not only did I enjoy them, but they were a win with The Minimen also, especially Rooster, which shocked me, he is usually very anti any healthy home-made options I present him with.

If you also are trying to eat healthier but are missing treats like chips, I can’t recommend Topchips enough, not only can you have your chips eliminating all the nasties but you will save money not buying bags of chips from the shops.  You may have to vary cooking times as all microwaves are different and each vegetable will cook differently.

I am really looking forward to experimenting with other veggies like zucchini, beetroot and carrot and fruits like pear, apple and mango.


Raw potato slices


Chips straight out of the microwave


A pile of super yummy crunchy chips waiting to be eaten


Fab Find Fridays- Fabric

19 Jul

Hi there! How’s your week been?

Following on from last weeks Fab finds Friday- Sewing for Boys I thought I would show you my favourite fabrics for boys this week. I found all of these at, but I am sure you will find them in other places also.

1. Michael Miller It’s a Boy Thing Bicycles Grey

Michael Miller It's a Boy Thing Bicycles Grey

Such cute little bicycles!

2. Boys Toys Cameras White/Black

Boys Toys Cameras White/Black

I love this retro black and white print!

3. Riley Blake On The Go Gears Brown

Riley Blake On The Go Gears Brown

The pattern on this makes simple brown more interesting!

4. Atomic Bots Atomic Dots White

Atomic Bots Atomic Dots White

This one appeals to my scientist side!

5. Riley Blake One For The Boys Flannel Damask Cream

Riley Blake One For The Boys Flannel Damask Cream

It was hard narrowing it down to just 5 for this post. There are just so many wonderful fabrics out there, even for boys!

2 Elephant Heads

18 Jul


I now have 2 elephant heads. They make up pretty quickly as it is just rounds of treble.
This is the first amigurumi I have made so I am fairly happy with the way it’s turning out. The stitches on the trunks are a bit messy, as are the ones at the top of the head where it closes up. I found it hard crocheting once the stuffing was in. For a first attempt though they’re not too bad.
I also completed another square for my blanket yesterday, this one is called Bermuda Square.


It hasn’t been blocked yet, but I love it, it is my favourite so far. I think there might be a blanket made entirely of coloured Bermuda Squares in my future.


Destashing with some cute little Ellies

16 Jul

Today while roaming around on Facebook I found these sweet little Elephants

They come from Jen over at Jam Made. The Minimen saw them and just like me fell in love and of course both demanding one to be made for each of them.

So this afternoon I got started destashing some of my grandma’s yarn (I knew I would find a use for bubblegum pink yarn!)

Here’s how I am going so far…..

.Photo: Here's the beginning of the first ellie

I’ll keep you updated as I go.


Snap Painting

14 Jul

During the week I promised The Minimen we would do some snap painting, we ended up being to busy during the week to do it so from early this morning Rooster was onto me to do it today.DSC_0714

So after a visit to the farmers markets, a quick Facebook check in and a lot of nagging I finally set them up to do their painting.

Snap painting is so easy and you should have most things you need around the house.

Gather some rubber bands, something to wrap the bands around, we used a plastic container but a shoe box or even a cake tin would also work well, paper that will fit inside your chosen box and of course paints.DSC_0695

Put your paper in the bottom of your container then wrap the bands around the container at varying intervals.

At this point it the kids will love to explore the sounds the rubber bands make when being snapped. Both Rooster and Dukman are really into music, so they both had a blast playing their “guitars”.


After the musical diversion we used our fingers to smother the bands in paint, DSC_0699

then it was time to flick away!DSC_0704



Even Duckman joined in with this activity, usually he is distracted by being outside when we paint, but this one

was right up his alley.



Both Minimen really enjoyed this art activity and stayed focused the whole time and they ended up with some really great paintings! I had been expecting this to be really messy with all the flicking bands flinging paint everywhere, however, it wasn’t any thing like that. All the paint managed to make it to its desired destination, which left a super easy clean up. This is something I really like.

This was a great activity. It provides tactile and musical experiences and it was really interesting to watch the way the paint splattered when the band was flicked and it will be engaging for a range of ages.

Here’s some of the art works The Minimen created



Fab Finds Friday- Sewing for Boys

12 Jul

I don’t often find the time  to sew, I would like to sew more so that I can improve, but other things just get in the way.

Maybe if I had girls I would sew more as there are so many sweet little dresses, skirts, accessories and knick knacks that you can make for a girl. Often I am not inspired by patterns available for boys. This Friday I am dedicating the post to some great sewing ideas I have found and would actually make for boys!

1. Boys Cargo Pants from Shwin&Shwin

These cargos are just great, so many pockets and the tutorial is so simple and easy to follow. While you are there have a look around, there are many wonderful sewing ideas for kids!

2. Car Play Mat

Car Play MatThis is from the book Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Create a Handmade Wardrobebut I think it would be quite possible to make this without a pattern.

3. Dino Tails from Running with Scissors

Another great tutorial. What little boy doesn’t love dinos!

4. Sailboat Pants from Oliver + S.

These guys make great kids patterns, often with a cute vintage feel. I love the button detail of these pants.

5. Upcycled Pyjamas from Mens shirt from Prudent Baby

I love that these are upcycled, and I love the skinny leg on them.

Has this inspired you to run to the sewing machine? I think I will be doing some more sewing for the Minimen in the future after seeing these Fab Finds!


The Cutest Dog Scarf

11 Jul

When it finally got cold here in Brisbane and after jibes from Mr Minx that I only “knit” little trinkets and never actually make anything useful I decided to make some cute animal scarves for The Minimen inspired by this free pattern.

First up is a dog scarf for Rooster.


It seems like an age ago that I began this scarf but in reality it is probably about 5 weeks ago. I thought is would only take a few days, and initially I was doing really well and then I lost motivation and then it was super hot here last week, like short shorts and singlet weather so the scarf got put to the side, then there was a request for a matching beanie so I started that (there will be a post on that later when it has had its final touches done). Then this week was cold again and I was becoming really quite annoyed at myself for stretching this project far longer than it should have gone for and I want to start on something else so I finished it up this week (all I had to do was stitch eyes on, something so simple and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it!).

I don’t know when or if Duckman will get a scarf, maybe next winter.

So about the scarf, I used a super soft nylon/acrylic blend for the heads and ears and acrylic for the eyes and bones and cotton for the noses. The ears, heads, noses and bones are all made separately and stitched together.DSC_0691

In the pattern glue on eyes were used, however since Duckman loves to put things in his mouth, food and non food, I thought I would just stitch on some eyes. There was a bit of trial and error in getting the eyes to look neat (I have no embroidery skills), but eventually they came together. To finish it of I pressed it with a damp cloth and low heat on the iron, it doesn’t sit perfectly but it will be wrapped around a neck so no one will know.

I worry that the scarf is a bit flimsy, especially for a whirlwind of a boy such as mine. I guess we’ll see how long it lasts, at least it is finished! and it is very cute.






Granny-a-long: Lillian

6 Jul

I have been wanting to write a post about my Nan for a while now so when I saw the Granny-a-long over at Meet me at Mikes I knew it was time!

Nanny, with her sister at the local show

Nanny, with her sister at the local show

This post is going to be hard for me, Nanny is my number One, my Mum was young and my Dad was not around so Nanny took on many rolls for me other than Grandmother, she was a second mother, a father, a babysitter, a playmate, a teacher. We lived with her until I was 3 1/2 and even after that I saw her every day since my mum worked so she took care of me and then I would go to her place before and after school right up until I was 12 and my brother was born, so then my mum was home. Maybe 4 years ago she started having health problems, namely strokes, and she now lives in Aged Care. I struggle seeing such a feisty, lively and independent woman living this way.

Lillian with friends from Tech

This is Nanny with friends from Tech, she is the short one.

Nanny grew up in rural Australia, she was a modern girl who wanted nothing more than to go to Tech and study typing and short hand so that she could become a secretary, but as a 16-year-old she couldn’t stand up to her mother who told her that she would do dressmaking and pattern drafting as that is what girls do. So she went to tech and learnt dress making and pattern drafting, I feel bad for her that she didn’t get to live out her dreams, but then if she had her life would have been different and I wouldn’t be here writing this now, so things always happen for a reason don’t they.

She married my grandfather, a carpenter, and they lived on a dairy farm in Nimbin. They adopted my uncle and then my mum.

Although she never had any formal employment she was a jack of all trades.She made dresses and did the hair of local ladies, she worked on the farm, picked and packed fruit for her sister and played piano and sang at country dances.

She was never happy in her marriage, I don’t know the details all I have ever been told is that Poppy had a temper. She was brave and in a time when divorces weren’t common and women didn’t leave their husbands, she did.

Then there was me. She was always there for me, took me shopping, to the movies, we ate salmon salad sandwiches and iced coffees at our favourite cafe, she taught me to read, play cards, bake,.she came to my school and helped other children learn to read and there was always a Milo waiting in the fridge for me when I came home from school.

Making Christmas Pudding

Making Christmas Pudding

These days she has good days and bad. Earlier this year she had a bad stroke and we thought we would lose her so I raced back to Lismore to be there and she saw me and rallied after being unresponsive to everyone else. The last time I visited was only a few weeks ago for her birthday, I went to see her and although she was happy and chatty, she didn’t know who I was, she called me This Lady and told me she had a grand-daughter called Stacie, it broke my heart, but then the next day at her party she knew me and she knew my boys. I wish that I lived closer so that I could visit more regularly.

This is us at Nanny’s party, Only the boys are looking at the right camera!

I love my Grandma and I love the memories we made together. I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

Here's the following years Christmas pudding

Here’s the following years Christmas pudding


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5 Jul

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5 Jul

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