Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Using Dusty Cookbook Number 5

Stand back - it is a madness explosion over here!
I have now done 2 recipes from the latest dusty cookbook.

This time it was the chocolate coconut cake.  I think we might even do this again.
For lovers of coconut it is a winner.
Something like a super moist, chocolate cake sandwich filled with juicy coconut.

Our small people liked it and even suggested that we have it again.
That is always a good sign.
I'm thinking that this one may be worthy of the tick in the margin - the ohjoh sign of recipe greatness.

I'm now flipping through the pages for some dinner inspiration .... trying to channel my inner 1980's cook but struggling to get my head around some of the ingredients - lots of butter, cream and things in jars and tins.

How are your dusty's going?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Dusty Cookbook No. 5

It has been a LONG time between dusty cookbooks.
Initially I said that this year I would do one each fortnight - I must have been drunk!
It is now September and my annual total of Dusty Cookbooks is a hefty 4.
But let us not dwell on the fact that I have completely fallen off the Dusty Cookbook wagon.
We shall just jump back on and introduce Dusty Cookbook Number 5!

This little baby - complete with very sticky front cover - arrived in a Christmas present from my Mum in 1989.
Inside amongst the very '80's photos, I have found only a few ticks beside a couple of recipes.  This book, I have to admit, is one that usually stays on the shelf collecting dust.


"Hundreds & Thousands Biscuits" are just out of the oven making my kitchen smell fabulous.

Just biting into one now ……..

Hmm, they are OK but you need a big glass of milk or a cup of tea to wash them down - they are a bit dry.
Not sure if they are worthy of a tick in the margin (the Ohjoh measure of recipe greatness).  
Will see what the smalls say when they arrive home from school.   
Mind you, after school they would eat the dog if he looked like a biscuit!

Have you been dusting off your cookbooks?  Have you discovered any fabulous new (yet old) recipes??


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Let's Make Giant Tissue Paper Flowers

We had a little kid's garden party here recently.
I thought I would nip into Spotlight and buy a heap of fake flowers for decoration … until I saw the price.  They were lovely but at $15 per stem they were not going to fit our teeny budget.
So onto plan B.
Crepe Paper!
NO glue!
NO stitching!
NO wire!
Just pretty and perfect if you are a bit on the lazy side and fancy a quick project like me!

You will need:
3 packets of crepe paper (1 main flower colour and 2 shades of green for leaves)
1 elastic band

open out your main flower colour sheet of crepe paper

gently stretch the top half of the paper being careful not to tear it

don't worry if you do tear it - just trim it to be a smooth curve shape and keep going
it will add character to your flower

roll over the end of the crepe paper a couple of times to form a little tube

keep rolling but as you roll scrunch/pleat the crepe paper with your fingers and push it into the roll.

keep hold of the bottom

it should start to look something like this

Keep rolling and scrunching until you get close to the end of the crepe paper

As you get to the end of the roll of crepe paper, trim the corner off so it has a softer, more rounded appearance

Keep rolling until you get to the end

you can either tie an elastic band around the bottom of your flower to keep it together whist you prepare the leaves or just give it a really good squeeze - it should keep it's shape.

unroll a section of each of the green (leaf colour) crepe paper and place them on top of each other

cut out two leaf shapes (rough is fine).  The base of my leaves are around 20cm (8 inches) and I cut them half way up the roll so that I could get the other leaf from the top half

you should have 4 leaves - two of each colour

stretch the tops of the leaves as you did the main flower

Using the same technique as before, take a leaf and roll & scrunch it around the bottom of your flower

I placed the lighter leaves on the inside and the darker leaves on the outside

and positioned them so that they were spread around the flower and not directly on top of each other

when you are happy with how it looks, tie an elastic band around the base of the flower so that it holds all of the leaves and the main flower

And that is it!
So simple and really effective.

You can:
  • hang them - slide some string through the elastic band
  • bunch them together 
  • throw them on a table
  • make heaps and be surrounded by a little bit of spring regardless of the time of year!



Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Frock - an update

I finished the frock in time for the work function … almost ... just a little bit of hand stitching under the arm didn't quite get done.  I figured that the chances of anyone having their head in my armpit during the course of the evening was quite low so chose to feed my children and organise the babysitter instead.
I thought I might share some process pics with you.
This way you don't have to experience the swearing and the procrastinating that also accompanied the production of this dress.

This was the rough mock up as I was copying a dress hanging in the cupboard that sadly doesn't zip up anymore.

The bodice - with a few less pleats than the mock-up.

The satin binding was suggested by the lovely lady at Fabulous Fabrics.  
You buy it off the roll either there or at Spotlight - how did I not know about this???  
So simple and the result was great.

The invisible zip. God knows why I purchased this ?!?!?!  
I have never been able to figure them out and usually avoid them like the plague but for some reason I decided that I would give it another go.
I'm so glad I did as you tube saved the day.  
These things ARE really easy to put in if you know how.  Fancy that!!
Check out this clever chick if you want to know how ….
The invisible zip and I are now friends.  I may put them in everything.

I think the jeans and boots work quite well - don't you ??

And sadly, this tired little photo taken after we arrived home, without my shoes on, standing (well, slouching really) in a badly lit room is all I have of the finished dress.
You get the idea.
I think the dress itself may be a little long and I think the underdress could be a little shorter too.  Generally I am happy with it and one day I may even finish the hand sewing at the top of the zip.
Next project ….. maybe a quilt …. or maybe the mountains of laundry creeping down the hallway.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A letterbox surprise ...

Surprises are lovely both when you give and when you receive them.

You can only imagine how excited I was to find this little lovely in my mail box today thanks to the fabulous Maya at Housenerd.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I won a little giveaway that she ran on her blog.

So excited!

I am not going to be able to spend only $50 at Calico and Ivy - a beautiful fabric and yarn shop in Mosman Park, Perth.

Thank you Maya (love your work!) and thank you to the ladies at Calico & Ivy - my credit card and I will be visiting very soon.

Hope you are getting lovely surprises today, too.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


We have a "work do" to go to on Saturday night.
You know the type - black tie with a theme and I'm the spouse who knows probably 3 people.
Can you tell that I am jumping out of my skin with excitement ??? …..
I would much rather be on the couch in my pj's.
In true spouse style I will trot off, smile, make small talk and probably have a really good time.

It is best in these situations, however, not to arrive naked.
This could be a little awkward and may hinder the Mr's career opportunities.

2 weeks ago I decided that I would make a frock (as no other frock in the wardrobe fits … damn it!).
I will make a little something that can do this function and a wedding in September.
Fabulous idea!

A week disappeared (how does that happen?) with only a bit of Googling and Pinteresting and not much else.
A girlfriend in here in Perth directed me to Fabulous Fabrics in Balcatta.

Truly fabulous and full of really NICE (and expensive) evening fabrics.
For Melbourne peeps it is a bit like the long lost love child of Franke Stuart in Hawthorn and Clegs. Fun, fun, fun.
In a fleeting moment of misplaced confidence I purchased some beautiful black lace.
I love it!
It is divine!

It was ridiculously expensive (I may have to sell a child when the Visa bill arrives).

I am now too scared to cut it in case I 'frock' it up.

It is Wednesday.
The function is on Saturday along with kid's sport and a couple of kid's parties.
I work on Friday.
And did I mention that I don't really have a pattern …

I may be "frocked".

Do you think I can just wear my jeans ???

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Loss,conflict and the wisdom of children.

It has been an emotional week in the world.
Around the world violent acts have caused heartache for thousands of people.
Sadness and heartache that we can only try to comprehend.
In Australia these acts are usually items on a news bulletin - they shock us, scare us and sometimes horrify us but generally we move on in our island bubble, detached from war and conflict.
Not this week.
This week it became very personal.
And so very sad.
The bombing of flight MH17 and the subsequent deaths of 3 Perth children amongst all of the many others has delivered the consequences of war and conflict into our homes.
The sadness in our house as we mourn a football team mate and a lovely family that we smile and laugh with on Sunday mornings, is nothing compared to their loss and that of the families & friends of every other passenger.
With heavy hearts we feel for them, send them our love and wish that we could do something ease their grief.

There have been many questions and conversations as we all come to grips with the enormity of what has happened.
Our youngest child, who has just turned 8, has been trying to process it all and I wanted to share a conversation that we had the other day.

Miss A: "Mum, why would somebody do that? Why would they bomb a plane?"
Me: "I don't know.  In the world there are people who are just not nice and they do horrible things"
Miss A:  "Are they bullies?"
Me: "Yes I think they probably are"
Miss A: "Maybe they should all think back to when they were little kids.  They should think about what it feels like when somebody is mean to you and how awful you feel.  Then they should remember that feeling and not be mean or horrible to other people.  They should do things that are nice and they should stay on their own sides and be happy with what they have.  Then they won't bomb planes and people won't be sad."

I think she is right.
May this never happen again.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

In the blink of an eye ...

…. my smallest turned 8.

How did that happen?

So many years but sometimes it seems so few.

To celebrate we had a garden party at home with (what were we thinking ???) around 20 (!!!) seven and eight year olds.  20 is crazy but we only moved here 12 months ago and our little Miss is still finding her place so after much discussion we decided that we should have them all.

I love a home party.
I love the preparing, the planning, the discussing, the making.
I love seeing the kids and getting to know their personalities in action.
I love that the kids have a great time without paid performers in an old school type of way.
I love the way our bigger kids get in there and help out and love doing it.
I love it when the last of them leaves and we all crash on the couch.

Here are some picks of our 8 year old garden party.

"Dirt cups" or tim-tams whacked though the food processor with a bit of chocolate topping thrown in to bind them a teeny tiny bit.  SOOO yum

The cake which was going to be a number 8 but I chickened out.  Decorating cakes isn't my strength.  After checking out Mr Google I discovered a blog called I Am Baker which, apart from being fabulous, has an excellent tutorial on how to do the icing roses.   If I can do them any 5 year old with a piping bag can!

I loved the look on the kid's faces when we cut the cake.  They were expecting chocolate not a rainbow surprise.

A little crafty gardening activity to do between games which the kids all took home.

And before you think that we are uber cool, organised party professionals, let me just keep it real for you ….
ice packs required - 2, head crash and mild concussion on trampoline
band-aids required - 1, bleeding foot whilst dancing on the carpet
kids in tears - 2 or 3 at various moments but all left the party smiling (phew)
happiest creature at party - our old friendly dog - who may have eaten the remains of 18 donuts and didn't require dinner - until one of the kids quietly mentioned that she was terrified of dogs as she hid behind my legs (oops) and we gave the dog a little rest in the laundry.
state of floor afterwards - very sticky & crunchy
dinner for the family post party - cheese toasties as we were all pooped!