Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunshine-y Day

Sadly the sun is starting to set for today :-( but the sun today reminds me that winter is beginning to wind to a close and (hopefully) I will have a few nice months before the full heat of summer arrives.

Sunday morning I headed back to Ballarat to hang out with my parents and Darwin (and various other pets). A friend of mine is currently packing up her life and preparing to head overseas. I caught up with her on Fri and Sat and both days we spent some of our conversation discussing spring cleaning and how much stuff we seem to have accumulated over time. I have been thinking about having a good clean out of everything for awhile as our household will be expanding next year. I also remember the ridiculous accumulation of stuff that we had to clean out of our last rental property and I don't want our current place to be the same.

I began by going through some of the stuff stored in my old room at home. I came up with a few items that I can easily part with....looked hopelessly at a pile of things that I am not yet ready to part with but have no real everyday use for.

Then I got started on a project that Mum and I came up with a few months ago when we were cleaning out her fabric stash. The first stage of the process looks like this -

The project is a rag rug. These two balls are made up of cut up strips of old clothes and the un-usable scraps of fabric in my stash that I could never bring myself to throw out. I probably half way through joining all the fabric and clothes that I already have for this project before I start attacking my wardrobe for more items to cut up.......

While I was searching through things I found some VERY OLD craft projects of mine -

This is probably my first attempt at crochet (which I now can't remember how to do) from either the summer before or after Year 12 (which is ten years ago now - yikes). I also found three nice sized balls of wool with these squares so maybe I will finish making something from this.

I also found these squares which I think I started at some point in the middle of high school.

In need of some desperate blocking but I was interested to see that my tension had settled down by this stage in time. Not sure what I will do with them - maybe sew them into the learn to knit afghan that I started at the beginning of the year and put aside in a huff after about four squares.

Well better push on with the rest of the days tasks.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

High Tea and other ways to spend election day

I am sheepishly reappearing as I have obviously been very slack!!!!! Here is some pictures of cupcakes I made for my friends birthday on Saturday.

On Friday I made gluten free chocolate cup cakes. Gluten free cooking is something that I have very little experience with and am frankly a little intimidated by it!!!! So to get around this (and as always being short of time) I brought a packet mix (Naturally Good Moist Chocolate Mud Cake Mix) and followed the instructions on the back (too easy :-)). I cooked the cakes for about 25 minutes.

I am pretty sure that my Mum dreads when I call her up and start the conversation with "Mum I've had this great idea." as it generally means I am about to embark on some crazy unobtainable quest. This however is a very rare occurrence where the idea worked perfectly. I wanted to decorate the cup cakes so I piped melted white chocolate on baking paper.

And with the addition of some rapidly setting chocolate ganache and walnuts. I got these -

I also wanted to make Maple Syrup Cupcakes (from Donna Hays Modern Classics Book 2 I think) that Mum and I had made the week before for RSPCA cupcake day at work. So Saturday morning (after I remembered to vote). I got started creaming the butter and sugars together and had walked away for a moment. All of the sudden the kitchen was filled with thick smoke emanating distressingly from our beloved mixer.

This mixer is the mixer that Mum made all of our delicious treats on when we were kids and my brother and I inherited when she got her lime green kitchen aid a few years ago.

After I turned the power off and stamped my foot a little I went and found my brother to rescue me :-). He came in turned it on and off a few times and it stopped smoking and started working again. I was then able to continue on and produce my cup cakes (phew not sure what I would have done if it had died permanently).

I think the break in mixing meant that the butter had time to reset a little as the cupcakes didn't rise as much as last week (and I was missing the trifecta of Mum, her kitchen aid and her oven). I made white chocolate ganache and dark chocolate swirls for decoration.

And if you look closely you can see from right to left the ganache going from runny to almost set as I iced.

My friends birthday party was a high tea with lots and lots cake and cucumber sandwiches and scones. It was a lot of fun and the birthday girl seemed to enjoy herself. I got lots of compliments for both sets of cupcakes. As a present I gave her a copy of the cupcake recipe and the main ingredients in a new cake container (as you can never have enough of those).

After stopping off at another friends housewarming I got home and watched a little of the election coverage to see that Australia has its first Greens seat in the lower house (Yayyyyyyy). (I promise that will be my only political comment ever).

Today I have spent studying, restraining from eating the remaining maple syrup cupcakes (I had one for breakfast), getting a little cleaning done and enjoying a sunny winters day. Oh and drinking lots of cups of tea of course.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ballet Barbie

Happy New Year. Welcome to 2010, may it be a peaceful and happy year.

For my first adventure in 2010 I went to a 5 year olds fairy princess birthday party. The five year old is Bubbles niece (Bubbles being my brothers girlfriend). I was pretty chuffed to get an invite to the party, apparently I am a big hit with the five year old (not so much with her three year old brother but working on that).

The party was split into the kids and the adults part. The kids party involved pass the parcel and the usual games and then a magician who was pretty fun. Then the kids went home and the family adults party started. It was pretty awesome party - by the end though the five year old had retreated to her room with her new toys.

The five year old started ballet last year and is also very into barbies. So I thought ballet costume for Barbie would be a pretty awesome present. Ages ago I bought a bag of ribbon ends from Spotlight which came in very handy for this project. As usual a lot of the project relied on Mum's uberawesome sewing and knitting skills. She knitted a singlet, shorts and legwarmers. And sewed together a very gothic lolita tutu. All together the outfit looked like this

Modelled here and in following shots by my one remaining Barbie. Her hair hasn't survived so well but it doesn't look too bad bundled up in a bun. Also don't look too closely at her neck, she had an unfortunate beheading by my brother and the heads never go back on quite the same way.

Action Shot. A few moments of boredom on my part also discovered the skirt could be used as a top and the leg warmers as arm warmers.
The final packaged gift - I found this little zip pocket in some old stationary which I thought worked. If you notice the crochet on the top of the shorts that is because Barbie has a rather large bottom and though she looked fine standing up if she sat down she flashed everyone so Mum added a crochet band.

I'm pretty sure she liked it, for the five seconds she looked at it before going on to the next present. She was a very lucky little girl with the presents that she got. It was ok though as Bubbles and I acquired one of her barbies and dressed it up - there were several comments about us enjoying the five year olds toys more than the five year old.

I'm off to Japan on Monday so probably no more posts until after the 29th but I should hopefully have something interesting to talk about then. And maybe even some photos (and some progress) on my first project for 2010 - Learn to Knit Afghan by Barbara G Walker. Last night I was at 1.5 squares completed but then I frogged the one I was working on and haven't gotten back to it (packing and finishing the library book that I can't take to Japan with me has been slightly more pressing). I like the one I have finished though so thats good.