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Little Boy Blue

20 Feb

bobblesI recently finished the blanket I have been making for my cousin’s baby.

I was surprised at how wonderfully it turned out, as while I was making it I was having second thoughts about the square and colours I had chosen and to be honest I really didn’t  like it that much.

However, joining the squares and adding the border really transformed it and I now love it.

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The square I used comes from Edie Eckman it combines bobbles with spike dc to create a peak a boo feel.

I joined them together with dc in the back loop only. This was something I had never done, I had always used both loops. By using back loops only the squares are really enhanced as they seem to get a little border around them.

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I was attempting to do a bit of stash busting when I started the blanket, so this led me in my colour choices. I already had the light and dark blues and the white. I added the gunmetal  for some sophistication and keep it masculine as the baby is a boy. It is all acrylic, the gunmetal is 8 ply, thick , squishy and will be so warm for the coming winter.

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For the border I mimicked the same style from the square, I toyed with a more embellished edge but in the end kept it simple and that was the perfect choice.

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I didn’t block the squares individually nor have I blocked the final product, since the yarn and pattern are quite sturdy I am happy with the way it sits, I may change my  mind on this though before April.

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I am really happy with this blanket, I love the tactile bobbles and I can imagine babies loving them too. I am in love with the colours too, the combination of neutrals and brights has to be my favourite.

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Gingerbread Part Two

23 Dec

I make gingerbread bikkies most years. I don’t have a go to recipe, I usually do something different every year.
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This year I used the Iced Ginger Cookie recipe from the Sweet Treats from the Lime lounge Cafe book

Ingredients

125g butter

100g brown sugar

1 egg yolk (I added a whole egg as well)

90g golden syrup

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarb soda

3 1/2 tsp ground ginger

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Method

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line tray with baking paper.

Beat butter, sugar and egg yolk until creamy

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Add syrup and beat again.

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Sift flour, bicarb and ginger and fold into mixture.

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At this point the mixture was very crumbly and not coming together like dough should (see the above picture) so I added an egg and beat it all until it was beautifully smooth (the picture below).

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The recipe doesn’t insist on it, but I did refrigerate my dough for about 30 minutes before rolling and cutting shapes.

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The recipes suggests baking them for 30 minutes, but I suggest 15 minutes, and definitely no more than 20.

Cool them on a wire rack.

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I used a store bought royal icing to ice the bikkies. I just piped simple patterns on to them as I was doing it late at night and just couldn’t be bothered with anything elaborate.

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The Minimen took them to daycare to share with their classes.
They both gave them the thumbs up.
I really liked this recipe, it made a lot of crisp little mouthfuls of ginger yumminess.




Paleo vanilla cupcakes with not so paleo strawbery icing

1 Dec

This week both my blender and food processor have given up on me. I am quite beside myself with grief.

Fortunately my mixer works just fine, so to console myself I made some delicious paleo vanilla cupcakes using this cake recipe from Paleo Fondue.

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They have the not so paleo addition of white choc chips, they are also iced with not so paleo buttercream.

and since white chocolate goes so well with strawberries I added fresh strawberries into the butter cream, which is simply butter and icing sugar.

imageThe buttercream is decadent and tastes just like strawberry heaven.

The cake is moist and fabulous, it uses a combination of arrowroot and coconut flour which I think is a good combination. I have only used arrowroot by itself previously and I find it can have a bitter aftertaste, the addition of the sweet coconut flour masks this and although the raw flour had a distinctly coconut flavour, I couldn’t detect that in the baked cake. It also has both coconut sugar and honey, I think one of these would probably be enough sweetner as the cake is super sweet and caramely.

This will definitely be my new go to vanilla cake recipe.

 

Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are you?

4 Oct

 

Rooster turned 5 a few weeks ago and we had his party this week end just gone. Originally he had planned to have this cake with fondant kiwis on top, but as the day got closer I just had no time or energy to work with fondant, also I didn’t really like his choice of cake so I talked him out of it.

We had hired a Scooby Doo jumping castle for the party, image

so I convinced him to have a Scooby cake. The one he chose even had a cake tin with accompanying instructions

Photo courtesy of Netties Vintage Box

And I discovered I could hire it, bonus! Then the only place in Brisbane that I could hire it from did not answer their phone, email and when I drove to the shop it was closed, I rang a place in Sydney and they were unable to get it to me in time, and I did not have time to find one to buy. So, with two days till the party, I decided to wing it.

I made a slab cake (it was even a packet cake! and I hate making packet cake)

I iced the cake with butter cream

I traced the picture onto grease proof paper then on the reverse side I piped the outline in black and then pressed it onto the cake.

So far, so good!

Then I filled in the ears and tongue with pink, the eyes with white, then using a small star tip I created Scooby’s fur.

For the burger I used a skewer to spread the different layers except for the lettuce layers, I used a leaf tip for a ruffle like lettuce effect.

I piped on the collar and dog tag and added a Happy Birthday.

I was pretty impressed with myself, especially since Mr Minx told me I couldn’t do it after I had a little melt down when I was trying to figure out how I would do it.

Once again I forgot to take a photo! I am so bummed, but here is a photo of the partially eaten cake.

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Mermaid Tales

19 Sep

I feel so neglectful of my little blog. There has been so much going on in my house recently I hardly have time for basic human needs let alone blogging!

We have started on the next phase of our renovation, so I have been trying to organise our new front door, windows, other building materials, asbestos removal, the BA, Owner Builder permits, the new walk in wardrobe and the mortgage. In a midst all this we have had two birthdays, mine and Rooster’s.

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This was the front of our house at the start of last weekend.

 

Since Rooster has been around my birthday is usually spent preparing for his, this year I decided I was going to have a cake and a little celebration though. We had a few friends around for a BBQ and I made a Mermaid cake. In this post I will tell you the story of the cake, forgive me for the lack of photos, it just completely slipped my mind to take any during the making process.

For the cake I wanted something a little different from the usual stock standard chocolate so I chose a passionfruit buttermilk cake. Here is the recipe I used.

Passionfruit Buttermilk Cake

250g butter softened

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs separated

2 cups S.R flour

3/4 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have butter milk mix 1 tbs vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let sit until curdled)

1/4 cup passionfruit pulp ( I think I used double this amount)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in yolks one at a time, stir in flour, buttermilk and passionfruit.

Beat whites until soft peaks appear fold into cake batter.

Pour into cake pan (I used a round 24cm pan) and bake in oven preheated to 160 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes or cooked through.

Due to the amount of cakes I am making for everyone’s birthdays I started colouring the fondant several weeks ago. For my cake I needed some variegated blue for the back ground. To do this I made a light and dark blue then made them into sausages and wrapped them around each other, then rolled it into a ball so that when it was rolled out the colours would swirl together.

Underneath the fondant I chose to use white ganache, which was something I have never done before. I made it in a 2:1 ratio like I do with dark chocolate ganache, however I have since read that white ganache should be made in a 3:1 ratio. So my ganache was soft but I forged ahead with the cake not knowing the problems it would cause later.

I rolled out the blue swirled fondant, rolled it up and put it on the cake, no problem, at least until I realised some of the fondant had stuck together and I had a big blog of unwanted fondant on the top of the cake. I tried to pull it off but it wouldn’t budge, I tried to smooth it out but due to the soft ganache it wasn’t providing the support I needed to be able to do that and I would have torn the fondant. In the end I just placed the mermaid over that spot and managed to cover most of the mistake. I also had an air bubble, put I was able to pop that with a skewer and there wasn’t much of a mark left.

To make the mermaid I just used a picture and molded the pieces on top of the picture then transferred it to the cake. I used little cut out stars,  silver cachous and some pearlescent edible powder to embellish it.

Then because of the softness of the ganache I put it in the fridge. This was the wrong move. I have put fondant covered cakes in the fridge before and not had a problem, but I think they did not have runny ganache under the fondant and the fondant may have been dried out before going in the fridge.

So a couple of days later I pulled the cake out and it was wet like someone had sprayed it with water. I panicked and ran to my best friend Google to ask “Why is my fondant wet?” and “How can I fix this?” Google suggested it was due to humidity and advised I put it in front of a fan to dry out and brush it with some corn flour.

So then my cake spent half the day in front of a fan and covered in cornflour. The fondant dried but the ganache got softer. I tempted fate by returning it to the fridge, and monitored it closely for any ill effects but it seemed fine, no more weeping. I was so relieved.

So here is the cake

You can see it is not perfect. However, it was delicious and my friends were suitably impressed!

 

 

Pinecone Art

9 Aug

Before starting this blog my Minimen showed very little interest in creative activities and when I started doing crafty things with them it could be difficult to gain their interest.

Now, after around six months later they are initiating activities themselves, like this afternoon on our way out of daycare, Rooster picked up a pinecone from the ground and while we were driving home he asked if he could paint it . Of course I was delighted and said yes.

As soon as we were home they bounded out of the car and ran upstairs to find some paints and brushes.DSC_0777

Rooster set everything up himself and both Rooster and Duckman happily painted away for all of about five minutes and together they created a lovely painted pinecone.DSC_0780

DSC_0786Duck man missed the pinecone occasionally, getting a bit more paint on the table

 

 

 

 

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Duckman really hates dirty hands at the moment, this is him showing some concern over the paint on his hands.
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This is the end result
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