Monday, 21 April 2014

chocolate eggs

This Easter, after seeing this amazing post on one of our favourite food blogs (have a look around Ann's blog - she is INCREDIBLE!!) Zoe was really keen to make chocolate eggs. Her eagerness far surpassed mine. But, because I love her very much I agreed that she could have a go at creating some custom made chocolate eggs.
So, at 8pm - well after the younger children were in bed - we began. Zoe decided that her eggs needed to taste great, as well as look great. Because of this she was adamant that we use Cadbury chocolate. I was happy with that. Cadbury chocolate is wonderful. I don't really care for anything else but Cadbury! Unfortunately, 'real' chocolate like Cadbury chocolate (i.e. chocolate with cocoa butter in it) needs to be tempered if you are re shaping it. Otherwise it will lose it's shape at room temperature.

Tempering this bowl of deliciousness didn't sound very tricky.
Zoe and I soon discovered that it was a bit more difficult than we thought. We grated the chocolate in the Thermomix and then began melting it in the microwave according to Ann's instructions.
Despite having lots of fun filling the egg moulds in a variety of different ways, our chocolate didn't harden the way that tempered chocolate should.
We decided to clean up our mess and try again the next day. On our second attempt we used milk melts instead of 'real' chocolate. We had much greater success and filled the large eggs with jelly beans before joining the two halves together.




 
This was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed spending time with Zoe during the quiet hours of the evening. We laughed a lot and nibbled chocolate together. Zoe discovered how to remove bubbles by banging the egg moulds on the bench, that it is always best to clean up as you go and that she has a really cool Mum (okay, maybe not that!). Zoe also learned that things often look simple, but are sometimes more involved than they appear. And that you should always allow for twice as much time as you think you need!
Our neighbours were the recipients of the jelly bean eggs. With one jelly bean egg staying with Zoe who deserves to eat the fruits of her labours!

I hope you have had a safe and glorious Easter.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

shoes

This morning we walked to a playground a couple of streets away from our house. We were meeting a family that have moved back to Perth after spending a few years overseas. Ten minutes before we were due to head out the door I asked everyone to go to the toilet and put their shoes on.
These are the shoes that Eli put on. Tinkerbell shoes from the dress up box.
Note to self: be much more specific when giving instructions to a four year old.

Monday, 14 April 2014

princess leia

I have finally made a start on Lily's Star Wars quilt. It's about time. There was a bit of a hold up while Lily and I searched for a background fabric we both liked, but after deciding on Space: The New Frontier by Benartex there was no reason to delay the start of this quilt any longer.

Except for not having any brown for Princess Leia's hair. We are enjoying two weeks of school holidays right now, so we made a family trip to the fabric shop to purchase brown fabric. Or hair fabric if you ask Eli.

A little while later and Princess Leia emerged. Minus her facial features which I will hand stitch later. Much later.

So, who will be next? Chewbacca? C3PO? Take your pick - Kristy has designed them all!

hair clip holders {tutorial}


I am very fortunate to have some very clever friends. One of my friends has been making these fabulous hair clip holders and invited me to make some with her. This is where I disclose that she did all of the work while I chatted!

This particular hair clip holder is for Zoe. I rummaged through my fabric and chose two very different fabrics for Zoe and Lily. You can see Lily's at the end of this post!

Want to know how to make one? They are very simple, cost effective, useful and they make great gifts for girls.
Cover a canvas with your chosen fabric. Our canvas is 30cm x 25cm (12" x 9 3/4") and we used a hot glue gun to secure the fabric to the back.
Make sure that the fabric is stretched fairly tightly across the canvas. If you are using fabric with a directional print ensure it is placed in a way that is pleasing to the eye. In this case that meant no wonky chairs!
On the back of the covered canvas mark the placement of the ribbon. We used four lengths of ribbon. To space the ribbon evenly, divide the length of your canvas by one more than the number of ribbons you would like. For example, for a 30cm long canvas requiring 4 ribbon strips:

30cm divided by (4 + 1) is 6cm.

So we marked our ribbon placement at 6cm intervals.

When working out the length of each ribbon, add 10cm (4") to the width of your canvas. Our canvas was 25cm, so we cut our ribbon lengths to 35cm.

We used ribbon that was 2.5cm (1") wide.
Check your ribbon placement measurements by placing the ribbon before gluing.
Hot glue in place. We secured all the ribbons on one side before turning the canvas around and gluing the opposite end of each ribbon. Make sure that the ribbons are pulled tight.
If you'd like to hang your ribbon holder, secure a piece of ribbon - loop style - to the back. Cut a piece of white cardboard and glue to the back to cover up the innards. Or not. If it is to be kept against a wall you won't see the back anyway!
Attach your hair clips and admire your creation!
These look great in a variety of colour combinations. Lily's is the holder with the purple ribbons!

A big thanks to my lovely friend who allowed me to ride her coat tails for these!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

finish along - 2nd quarter


Finish Along 2014
I had a very ambitious list of projects to complete during the first quarter of the finish along hosted by Katy of The Littlest Thistle. And I only completed one!
I finished the London cushion that I blogged about here and presented it to my brother in law and his wife before they returned to the UK.

And that was it as far as my planned list was concerned. I found myself busy with other things, not many of which were crafty.

So here is my list for the second quarter of the finish along. I have decided to be slightly less ambitious (i.e. more realistic!).

  1. I'm hanging in there with this scrappy quilt top. I ordered some batting so this top can now be basted, quilted, bound and put in the boot of the car.

2.   My Kate Spain 'Cuzco' Scrappers Delight quilt top. The top is two thirds finished.
3.   Another blue, green and purple 'Scrappers Delight' that I blogged about here. The blocks need to be trimmed and then sewn together.
4.    My scrappy trip along quilt. I've been slowly plodding away on this one. And I want it finished so that I can start a new quilt!

5.   This little pile of 'Mabel' monkey. I have made two of these but never got around to completing the third. Unfortunately I just used the last of my stuffing to make a large pillow form, so we'll see how that goes.

I am hopeful!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

growing a pineapple

We have decided to grow a pineapple. My mum is in her seventies and has a small courtyard with a very productive garden bed. She grows all manner of fruit, including pineapples. Mum has harvested two pineapples in the last 12 months.

So, inspired by my mother, we decided to have a go at growing our own pineapples. After a quick phone call to Grandma, Eli explained what we had to do. Cut off the top. Plant it in the ground.

So we cut off the top and planted it in the ground. And then I read a bit about growing pineapples here and quickly dug up the pineapple top and removed the flesh and lower leaves.

It is now back in the ground and seems to be happy enough. Have you ever grown a pineapple? Incidentally, it is planted next to a large bush that has these flowers on it (just a reminder that it is autumn here right now!).
The same bush has red flowers as well as yellow flowers on it! Does anyone know what this magical plant is? The flowers don't change colour; they either appear as red or yellow. Amazing!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

the mending pile

 My mending pile never disappears, though recently it was reduced to almost nothing. One of the items on the pile was a pair of jeans for Eli. Handed down from Lily they were fantastic jeans, mostly because they had an adjustable waist. Both Lily and Eli have a very slim build which makes it difficult when it comes to buying pants or shorts that fit. It's a bit tricky running around while holding up your pants with both hands because the waist is too big.

Why were the jeans on the mending pile you ask? Because Lily wore out the knees. I usually throw clothing away when it is completely worn through (after harvesting the buttons!), but the adjustable waist in the jeans prompted an idea.

I cut off the legs just above the holey knees and bound the edges (just like a quilt!). And now Eli has a fabulous pair of shorts with a waist that fits him perfectly.
Old made new again. I love being thrifty. Do you have any great thrifty ideas?
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