31 October 2010

Doily love, halloween style

How sweet is this little doily hoop from Betz White? Simple, gorgeous and mildly spooky.

Happy Halloween!

28 October 2010


Constellation baby mobile from The Wonderland Studio

Chevron stripe sunsuit from The Measure

Helvetica font painting  from Lesley Arango

Silver Scissors Tshirt Dress from Circular Accessories

Urban Type Cotton Teatowel from Green Olive Textiles

Jpegasus Tshirt from The Chop Shop

Polka Dot Ring from Minicyn

Recycled Sail Throw Pillow from Reiter8

Pow headband from Janine Basil

24 October 2010

Handmade Christmas Part 3: Repurposed Polo Stocking

This is another one of those traditions that our family never really 'did' when I was little, but I want to make it a regular Christmas occurrence for my children - stockings.

I like the idea of a stocking hung on the bed post on Christmas eve, to be found full of little goodies in the morning, along with one or two big pressies under the tree.

I found this tutorial on (cringe) Martha Stewart's website (I usually try to avoid anyone big enough to be considered a corporation). Having said that, this stocking from a repurposed polo shirt was too cute to resist. I had one of my old purple polos in a chuck-out bag under my desk, ready to take to Vinnies, so I had the bonus feel-good hit from reusing something I was going to get rid of next week anyway.

I didn't use Martha's pattern; just freehanded a shape with tailor's chalk on to my shirt, leaving around 2cm either side of the collar for seam allowance. I whizzed around the edges on my machine then realised how discoloured and manky the inside collar binding was, so I covered it with some dark aubergine satin ribbon, adding a wide ribbon for hanging at the same time. This probably would have been a lot easier to do before I sewed the back and front pieces together (note to self for next time).

Then I switched the old boring buttons for cute mis-matched girly ones, and made a little co-ordinated brooch from satin ribbons, a button and a tiny doily. I was going to get fancy and put Holly's name on it somewhere, but I suck at embroidery. It doesn't really hang beautifully when it's empty but I'm hoping it sits nicely when full of goodies!

Now to raid hubby's wardrobe so I can make a matching one for Tyler. Next Handmade Christmas installment: Meow, pussycats... It's a crazy kitty pencil case.

21 October 2010

Handmade Christmas Part 2: Tart lemon butter and other treats

Even though I love cooking, particularly baking, 2009 was my first ever go at a proper holiday cook-up. Previously, I might have made a slice or some truffles to take to dad's for lunch, but from now on I'm determined to always make a few tasty treats for my friends and family that will last well into January. 

In last year's hampers were spicy & sweet Indian nut mix, peppermint crunch, toasted muesli, lemon butter and rum and cherry Christmas cake. I also made two kinds of truffles, one I can't remember but the other was really easy; crumble a dark fruit cake with some melted dark chocolate and roll into balls. Easy as!

This season I'll be making the lemon butter and toasted muesli again. Both keep quite well so you can make them a few weeks before silly season is in full swing, and both also hold up ok if its a 40 degree day. 
And I love this idea from Our Best Bites - single serving pies in a jar! I have a feeling they wouldn't actually make it to anyone else's house though as I am a bit of a pie fiend...

Lemon Butter

(Recipe from Valli Little - delicious magazine - via taste.com.au). 

2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar

1/3 cup (80g) chilled unsalted butter

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened [from memory this takes ages]. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. This makes about 1.5 cups. Lemon curd keeps, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks. [I reckon it keeps for much much longer; mine still tasted scrummy after about 2 months].

Toasted Muesli

This is my own recipe so it's not really a 'recipe' as such - I take around 3 cups of rolled oats, 3/4 cup of LSA (linseed sunflower and almonds all ground up - it's in the health food aisle), 1/2 cup shredded coconut (the moist kind if you can get it), 2 cups of whatever nuts you like smashed up in a mortar and pestle, and chopped up dried fruit (however much takes your fancy) and throw it all in a big roasting tray.

Drizzle about 1/4 cup of olive oil all over and about the same of honey, maple syrup or golden syrup and mix it all in. Toast it in the oven on 180 degrees for 15 minutes or so, checking and stirring it regularly as the oats burn easily. Let the muesli cool completely before putting it into an airtight container.

In high summer the nuts tend to sweat a bit after you roast them and release the oils, so I'd say its lovely for around 3 or 4 weeks, then if you still have some left over try using it as a crumble topping for apple crumble, or mixing with yoghurt for bircher muesli.  

Of course you can mix it up and create whatever fruit & nut combos you like - I love green pistachio, white macadamia and red cranberry for Christmas. Or try date and walnut, or almond and apricot, or all nuts - no fruit (Richard's favourite).

Next Christmas instalment: Part 3 - deck the halls with repurposed shirts! 

17 October 2010

Mmmm... lacy goodness

Hey doily lovers, check out this treasury from Monicaj on etsy (and go on, take a look at her store too, she has some beautiful tactile crocheted and tatted goodies).

14 October 2010

Oh, the places you'll go!

With lovely customers based all over Australia and internationally, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the cities I have sent orders to...

From just down the road from my house, to Brisbane, outback WA, Mornington, Adelaide and Tassie, and on to New York, Oregon, Virginia and Venice Beach, it's sweet to think of a little something that I made being worn by a little girl in Mount Gravatt or adorning a bedroom in Portland.

And on the flipside, here's a shout out to the etsy sellers all over the world whose lovely handmade wares I have bought (note there is a distinct yet unintentional Stateside bent to this list):

Rainbow fabrics in California - yes, of course I can buy fabric from the store up the road but they have some lovely hard-to-find prints

3dots in Quebec - Lucie's wooden jewellery is graphic and organic and beautiful

The Pink Crochet Hook in Tenessee - look at those apple jackets, they just make me smile

Spidercamp in Atlanta - funniest shop EVER

Sir Mitchell in LA - my favourite t-shirt ever, featuring my favourite quote that I have been using for years that I can FINALLY wear across my chest*

Smika in Europe - soft and tactile wool felt beads

Lunahoo in Spain - simple but feminine jewellery - I love these earrings; they make me think of Icarus

*That quote would be 'you are a beautiful and unique snowflake'. Know the film? Hint: my son is named after the lead character (yes really) :)

10 October 2010

Handmade Christmas Part 1: Advent Calendar

 At Christmas, I have always made something little for my mum, but this year, nearly everything for my friends and family will be handmade.

That's the plan anyway.

Now, I am not entirely sure who reads my blog so I can't give away all my surprise ideas, but I can tell you what I'll be making for the kids and a few other special people. I'll be posting updates as I go, hence this post is part 1.

For pork chop and muffin top I'm making an advent calendar, using Michael Miller's Gnomeville fabric as a base. We never really had advent calendars when I was little, but it's a tradition I'd love to start with my children, so I thought I would make a lasting calendar that will hopefully become part and parcel of Christmas celebrations at our place in years to come.

I didn't use a pattern or anything for this; just googled fabric advent calendars and got a few ideas. Because I am half arsed and not so good at fiddly stuff, I've used little squares of fabric about 6 x 3 inches, doubled over and pinked the edges. I could have got all fancy and turned the edges of each pocket under and things but that involves ironing, and this is supposed to be fun, so that idea didn't go much further. I attached them to the front panel using my double needle which I haven't used before - the pockets turned out quite nicely I think. Just the right size for a few lollies or coins.

The backing is a lovely gold and cream Japanese wave print that I had originally bought to back Holly's quilt. The pocket fabrics include Michael Miller's Dick & Jane print, calico, cotton drill and bits of one of Ty's gingham bassinet sheets.

The top is a simple rod pocket arrangement and so that I don't have to make a special trip to Bunnings to buy a length of dowel, I will probably end up using a nice twig from the garden and some ribbon to hang it on the wall.

Look out for Handmade Christmas Part 2 - yummy things in jars!

06 October 2010

Goodness me, another one!

Purple + tangerine + aqua + mustard = awesome. Totally going to earmark this colour scheme for Holly's bedroom when we buy a new house!

Thanks to Chelsea from whiterabbit7 for including my tiny garland in this etsy treasury!

Cream and sugar

What a sweet etsy treasury - I adore those mint and cream colours. Thanks for including me scarletbeautiful!

A magical pixie land...

... is where my husband is convinced I live, just because I think nice things and see the good in people who are probably twats.

But I digress - I wanted to share this REAL little pixie land made possible by Kate Landers Events in the USA - I've been researching party ideas for Holly's first birthday and I think I've found the perfect theme! It may well end up looking lame next to this extravagance, but I'm sure Holly Dolly won't notice.

What an inspirational setting! More beautiful pics here.