Saturday, 31 December 2011

The next challenge

So its New Years Eve agghh, where did 2011 go?  There are less than three hours left in this year and I'm a little bit sad about it :(  2011 has been a great year for us, we got our first grand baby, we purchased land and have designed our dream house (to be built early 2012) to go on it, we have watched our little baby grow into a lovely little boy, I have learned a wonderful new craft, that I am totally taken by and I found blogging and have just been amazed by how many creative, talented, generous people there are out there!  So if you are one of those wonderful, generous people who take the time to share their projects and skills with others THANK YOU so very much.  Now enough of the reminiscing and (glasses raised) here's to a fabulous 2012!

Getting to the title.... I am participating in another challenge hosed by the clever lasses Keren and Rikka over at sew la vie and ricochet and away.  This time around its the Naughty Notions Challenge, if you click on sew la vie it will take you straight there and you can read all about it or even sign up if your game!!!! 

So getting ready for the big challenge, I had a little practice today using this tutorial alifosterpatterns - clutch pattern and I am so happy how it turned out.  I obviously has no notions but as I said its just a practice and the challenge doesn't even start until tomorrow! 

Happy New Year to you all x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bags - check, Cake - check, Christmas treats - maybe tomorrow!

So in my last post I shared with you my favorite fruit cake recipe.  I have since covered it with Almond Icing (yum) and White Icing and am now eagerly awaiting Christmas so I can eat it!  I decided on a very simple, understated (lazy) way to decorate this year.  I used my star shaped cookie cutter and marked the icing all over (not too deep that it cuts through to the cake though) then just wrapped a red ribbon around the bottom.  I am pretty happy with the result. 
I also covered my little cakes with the icing and made a single star imprint in the top.  I am not sharing a picture of those as yet because I have run out of ribbon and they are unfinished (ugly at the bottom).   I plan on putting one of these little cakes in each of the treat boxes that we give out at Christmas.  I generally make a few different truffles, peppermint, white choc and almond and mini puddings this year with gingerbread men and bite size pieces of mars bar slice (yum) and box them up for family and neighbours.  For the past four years I have made Rick go to the local Sushi place and ask them for some cardboard boxes to package them in but this year we came across four packs of red and white striped bowls for about $4 and grabbed some to put them in.  I hope they will look cute. 

My bag sewing is finished also (phew).  In the past two weeks I have sewn five bags for gifts.  Two were 'The Favorite Bag' by VandCo that I have posted about previously.  This is a pretty, simple little bag with a gorgeous little fabric flower.  Here are the two I made this time
And here are the three 'Nanna' presents I posted about previously (Safe to say they won't read this before Christmas as they don't have computers).  The pattern comes from 'The bag making bible' (love this book).

I think this one turned out best, might just keep it for myself  ;) JOKES! Will give it to my favorite! Ha

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cooking up some Christmas Spirit

Well I've just had a very productive Saturday and am feeling a tad bit happy with myself!  Firstly I started making a Boiled Fruit Cake to decorate for Christmas.  If your after a good Fruit Cake recipe pay attention coz this one is the bomb!  My father used this recipe for my wedding cake and I have since pinched it and used it last year for our Christmas Cake and it was delicious!!  Here's last years effort -
So if your interested you'll need-
  • 850g mixed dried fruit
  • 3/4 cup glace' cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup crystallised ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 250g butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbs treacle
  • grated rind from 1 orange
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup s/r flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
* note -  fruits and nuts can be changed to your liking as can spirits (I used white port in my small cakes)


         1.  Combine your dried fruits and nuts, butter, sugar, brandy and water in a saucepan and stir constantly over heat until your sugar has dissolved.  When boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins.

         2.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

         3.  If your saucepan is large enough just keep it in there, if not transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add eggs, treacle and orange rind and stir to combine.

     4.  Add dry ingredients and stir to combine.

       5.  Spread into greased and lined cake pan and bake in 150C (130 fan forced) oven for 2.5 hours or until cooked.

    I also made a quarter batch for extra little cakes.
    Now I best get into gear and decorate these because I am quickly running out of time!  One week today AGGGHH!

    While my cakes were cooking I sat at my machine and started a few gifts for the Nannies.  The are going to be 'The versatile book bag' bags from my Lisa Lam 'The bag making bible' made out of Amy Butler fabrics and some linen and canvas.  Will show the finished products in my next post and perhaps my Christmas Cake if it turns out any good! ;)

      Sunday, 4 December 2011

      Christmas is a-comin!

      Today I started my Christmas wrapping, admittedly I only have three presents to wrap at this stage but I started nevertheless!  So I just thought I'd share with you how it's going to be under our tree (when it gets put up) this year. 

      I grabbed some cheap wrapping paper from good ole Kmart today and made a teensy little start on it.  I cut up some cardboard (was from the middle of wrapping paper actually) and used my stamps and ink and ribbon and these cute little snowflake embellishments i got from Spotlight last year and offcuts of wrapping paper to make my gift tags.  Oh and a little bit of glitter glue.


      I think they are looking pretty cute so far and the best bit is they didn't cost me anything as everything I used was already in my cupboards.  What's it going to be for your gifts this year?

      I feel I should explain my slackness in the Christmas Tree department!  We like to put it up together in our house and to find time with three people who work shift work and a toddler who goes to bed at seven every night and still has a day sleep is very difficult.  Add to that we had our Christmas Dinner for work on Thursday night and a Graduation at the other end of the State for my sister on Friday Night, it just hasn't happened.  Tomorrow is the day though, I'm putting my foot down!! 

      Speaking of my sisters Graduation, she looked just gorgeous, didn't she?!
       And while I'm at it here are a couple more pics from the night
      Rick and I

      My beautiful Mumma and I
      Right that's about it for now, I hope your all doing better in the Christmas preparations than me :)