Thursday, 15 December 2011

Rafaelo Snowballs

Rafaelo Snowball Truffles
250g unsalted butter
350g caster sugar
400g powdered milk

150ml water
200g desiccated coconut          
100g desiccated coconut (extra for dipping and rolling)

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the sugar, water and coconut and stir until it thickens.

Slowly add the powdered milk and slowly stir to combine all the ingredients.

Allow to cool in the pot for at least two hours (sometimes I cheat and put it in the fridge to speed up the process when I am short on time).

Using a tablespoon at a time roll into a ball and then roll in the extra coconut. If you are using roasted whole hazlenuts then take the tablespoon and pop the hazlenut in the centre, roll the truffle and then roll in the cocount.
Set aside. This recipe should make about 100.

I put them on the end of bamboo skewers, wrapped in cellophane and used as gifts.

Clandestine Blogging and the joy of the old fashioned bookshop

This week we are on holidays. A traditional family beach holiday with a plethora of boogie boards, sunscreen, sandcastles, and all the ball games you can think of. It has been lovely. We are ignoring the absence of the Aussie summer, but I am sure that somewhere in the world the current temperature of 22 degrees celsius constitutes a glorious summer’s day. We are pretending the same here. It has not halted the trips to the beach.
But today I have felt the need to reconnect to the cyber world. What’s going on out there? How many blog posts have happened, how many pictures on pinterest have I missed? Some may say I have a problem – but I’ll just refer to it as one of my passions. I don’t have an iphone or any similar technology by which to check online status updates or to add to my own blog posts while out of the home zone. I won’t do an “oh woe is me” spiel here – I don’t have the technology for no special reason except that I have never sought it out. I think 2013 will be the year of new technology. An iphone, ipad, an external hard drive, some new tech stuff for the TV, and a new digital camera as the current one is on its way to crapping itself (as you will tell by some current and near future posts). I also think I will start wearing a watch again.
The laptop is on holidays with us. Not for any bad work related reasons. Consequently I can (re)connect with the cyber world. Hooray!
Today we went for a lovely walk into town and there is a charming bookshop there. How long has it been since you last bought a book from a good old fashioned bookshop? It has been a while for me. I tend to buy my books online, and they are my standard gift during Christmas so I definitely buy a lot during this season. This year however I have not done the online things so much. I wanted to go out and buy them myself and I really noticed the diminished presence of the bookshop. I could buy books from Myer, BigW and the like, but when searching for a special not current best-selling book I found it a little disappointing. And the browse factor is gone. Oh how I love to browse.
At the bookshop today, Boobook on Owen at Huskisson, I enjoyed the browse. I felt a little naughty caressing the books, lightly touching their covers, peeking into a few that seduced my glance. And it was calm. No poky aisles with shelves packed to the brim with numerous copies of the same book. Instead there was space to peruse, to stroll and meander, a place to sit and indulge a little in something that caught my eye. And all four kids were quiet. Whisper quiet. We are not naturally a rowdy bunch but we are voluminous. A genetic mishap (my side of the family I hate to admit) has meant most of us know only two volumes with our vocal chords – silent and full-ball-loud. And given we are not a shy bunch either, loud is what one normally gets. But today at Boobook on Owen we were all quiet.
A book each. What a joy. What a glory. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and introduce myself to a few other friendly tomes. 
How long has it been since you last enjoyed a bookstore? Which is your favourite?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

More mosaics for Christmas

So a few Christmas gifts this year courtesy of time spent at my mosaic class:

Yes, I agree, an absolute cross overload, but I have covered many family members with this gift this year. Idolatrous...perhaps.

The following plaque was a gift to my local playgroup which I have been attending for about 6 years now. I started with my Masters 8 when they were just two and half and have just attended my last ever with Master Three. An end to a wonderful time.

I think I am all mosaic-ed out...until the next project at least.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Paranoia, Paranoia, you are my companion
Sometimes I indulge in your friend depression
but shoo away you meddlesome lot

Sometimes that regimented mind leaps in and takes control, which can be great, but sometimes it just swallows up anything that resembles a person - a warm, interesting, creative, squishy human being.

Laundry done.
Ironing done.
Dishes done.
Lunches made.
Beds made.
Teeth brushed.
Breakfasts eaten.

Swimming through the fog, as I look back and see the sparkle of before, I can only hope that I emerge not in darkness but in a new shining light.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Christmas Tree for the wall

Well onwards with Christmas decorating. I have completed a large paper star. Instructions can be found at Cut Out and Keep.

and have created a wall Christmas tree using ribbons. I made the ribbon myself by cutting some leftover fabric from this dress:

I was intending on buying the ribbon but thought better of it when I realised how many fabric remnants I have. So I put the pinking shears to good use and created loads of strips. I had some Christmas pegs, some purchased this year and some purchased last year from the bargains stores and all our Christmas cards will be "hung" onto this wall Christmas tree.

What do you think? I think next time I'll do a red star (or repaint the wall to make it a feature wall).

Now to the paper snowflakes...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Martha's Pom Poms

So today I started. Our green garland is up on an exposed beam in the family/dining area and I have made three white pom poms to hang down.

You can find the full tutorial here, but if you just want to hang around here, here is how I did it:

A pack of tissue paper. Make sure there are 10 sheets per pack. I have noticed some selling packs of 5 sheets only, or 8 sheets (which will do also). I got mine from the Hot Dollar Shop (for the Sydney-siders) for only $1.

Lay out the pile of sheets from one pack so that the shortest end is facing you.

Make a fold that is about 2cm (or about 1 inch) in width.

Flip the pile of paper over and fold again.

You are creating accordion folds.

Once you have completed this, tie a piece of string in the middle. (I have also previously used thin wire).

Snip the ends to creat either an arch or point.

Fan out the folds.

Carefully and delicately separate each sheet of tissue paper. Though this is a quick process be aware that tissue paper does tear easily so be gentle with it.

First sheet on one side done.

One half done.

And the results...hooray Christmas is coming!
Thanks Martha!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Christmas is Coming, the geese are getting fat

When I was about 7 Santa delivered an album of Christmas carols. I believe the vinyl might still be at my parents' place. One of the carols on there I had never heard of at the time, but oddly enough, it is the one song that has stuck in my head the most. Apparently it is a nursery rhyme too. It goes:
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!
Well folks, Christmas is coming. I planned to start planning about 4 weeks ago, but time doesn't stand still, and I have not gotten to it yet. So, I shall start planning now. Beyond the basic Christmas things that need to be done (presents bought and wrapped, cards written and sent, etc) I am trying to improve on my ability to make the season festive and magical.

I want to make sure Christmas is magical. I have the standard traditional things that we do (milk and cookies for Santa, glitter dust for where he and the reindeer have been), and there are some things I am just not into but others do so well (Christmas lights - not on the agenda yet).

Decoration-wise this is my inspiration:

Lots of paper chains and paper snowflakes, but I love the effect. For those who haven't figured it out it is from the movie "Elf", a totally hilarious Christmas movie. We've already started watching it this Christmas season.

So to get started I will be doing the following:

1. White tissue paper pom poms (for instructions visit Martha Steward here) but I will be posting mine tomorrow.

Picture source found here
2. Paper snowflakes:

Image removed
3. A paper star which I plan to go on the top of my Christmas Card tree (instructions in a few days)
From cut out and keep here
4. And few more items for inspiration:
From Home By Linn (in Norwegian but there are pictures or you can click the google translate button)

...and just because I love doilies so much... this is from the happy home blog.

Fingers crossed I get my rear end into gear and get this done. Stay posted...

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Got some bowls and mugs lying about?

I had some white bowls and mugs lying around I have been wanting to decorate, and finally discovered this pen:

I bought it from Eckersleys for about $10. I got black but there are other colours. One of the first projects I did was to make some personalised mugs for a couple of friends. We were celebrating 21 years of friendship, so I got this friendship poem (first seen on Fat Mum Slim here), I printed it out, traced it onto baking paper, coloured the back with lead pencil, retraced onto the mug, and then went over it with the "Porcelaine" pen. You could freehand but I just don't have the confidence. Leave it to dry for 24 hours then bake for 35 minutes. All done.

I also did a couple of bowls for icecream. One is a Dr Seuss quote - and if I had the capability I would have done it in a Dr Seuss font. But I don't - not yet. The other is a quote from John Keats' 'Ode on a Grecian Urn'. He's my favourite poet.

I did try and monogram a piggy bank for my son, but failed:

I'm sure it would have looked good , if I hadn't broken it.

I might get some red and green and decorate for Christmas.


Be sure to visit our creative spaces for other great creative ideas this Thursday.