Tuesday, May 31

fancy pants {budget or blowout?}

Can you pick a bargin?

Or do you know your designer clothes from a mile away?

Can you sniff out an imitation or are you just after style and comfort?

With little ones still sick, and not feeling up to photographing any wardrobe styles, I was having a bit of fun on polyvore, and came up with a bit of a challenge for you.  One of outfits below is a collection of clothes from the $50 and under range, whilst the other is from the $1000 plus range. Can you guess which is which?  I love them both of course, but doesn't it prove fashion doesn't have to cost a bomb! get all fancy over here too! 

Saturday, May 28

I'm grateful for {encouragement from the young}

Siblings are a complex and ever evolving relationship.  From the days when you bring home "another" baby and get that reaction from your first born (or more!)  the bond that develops between them is such a joy (most times) to watch.

joining in with Maxabella Loves on this day to be grateful....

Today I'm grateful for...

1.  The little one's courage - from day one, my youngest has been feisty and independant.  I think from a very early age, she realised she needed to stand up to be heard!

2. The little's one's encouragement -  Often my youngest is the leader, not my eldest. Above is a picture of her on a quad bike.  At first my son did't want to go for a ride (he's naturally apprehensive), but as soon as he saw how much fun his little sister had, he was right to go!  

3.  The little one as teacher - she teaches all of us so much, especially her brother.  it's just lovely.

Happy grateful day!

Join in on all the fun here! 

Friday, May 27

a birthday bunting

A few weeks ago, my foodie loving, baking queen extraordinaire, gorgeous looking, and down right awesome friend celebrated her birthday.  The lovely thing is that a few weeks prior we happened to laugh at the ridiculous apron she was using (oh if you had of seen it!)  and my mind started racing....

.....then there was then some mention of a cute kitchen bunting that was admired somewhere in blogland...

.....and my mind started racing again.  If you recall - last year, I made this after some discussion about how cute crocheted cushions were!

Well, with a thrifted vintage tea towel with the most gorgeous colours and beautiful bird print, some other retro inspired fabrics, a splash of doilies here and there and voila!  One custom made Apron and matching Kitchen Bunting!

The tea towel was large enough to use as pockets on the apron (those lovely birds weren't going to get cut up!) and the rest made part of the bunging.  I also struck it lucky at an op shop - a vintage Johnson plate!

 Do you love making special gifts?  I do!  Especially a practical gift like an apron that will get used over and over!!!


Monday, May 23

Tiramisu cake....

Anyone from an Italian family will have experienced the pleasure of a tiramisu.  The creamy, velvety texture and the unmistakeable coffee and liquor flavour hit.   It is, quite frankly, the quintessential Italian dessert.

However, it has never been one of my strong points.  I've never really been able to master it, and well, my last attempt perhaps a year or so ago, resulted in an outcome that I was less than pleased with.

But, not to be defeated, I set out to try again, but this time with a recipe that is only slightly different to it's original counterpart.  It seemed much more fail-safe. And guess what, it was!  I'm not sure why it's called Tiramisu Cake - there is no baking required, but I'm happy to say the result was much better than my previous attempt!

Here is what you'll need;

200g chocolate, chopped
3 eggs, separated.
60ml of liquor of your choice (I chose baileys, but you could use the traditional marsala)
250g mascarpone
150g Italian sponge finger (I used the savorardi type)
125ml strong black esspresso coffee
cocoa power to dust

1.  First, line a cake tin with baking paper.  Then melt your chocolate by placing the chunks in a bowl and placing that over a saucepan of simmering water.
2.  Whilst the chocolate is melting, beat the eggs yolks, with marsala until pale and creamy, then add the mascarpone and beat until smooth.  Add the melted chocolate and stir until mixed.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, then fold them into the mascarpone mix.
4.  To assemble the cake, place a layer of the sponge fingers in the bottom of the cake time and then drizzle with half of the coffee.  Pour the mascarpone mix on top, add the remaining fingers (you may need to snap some to fill the gaps) Drizzle the rest of the coffee and cover with cling film and leave for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Carefully remove from the cake tin and dust with cocoa powder!
'Buon Appetito!'


Saturday, May 21

I'm grateful for....{great book and nights out}

Click picture to view HQ image

Well,  hello lovely bloggy friends.  Yes, been a little quiet here this week with a two little sickies mid-week but happy to say all is fine and well as we approach the weekend.

Joining in with the ever so adorable Maxabella Loves on this day to be grateful!

Today, I'm grateful for...

1.  Good books - Whilst the kiddies were sick, and resting up on the couch this week I took the opportunity to get some day time reading done.  With kids heads on my lap or curled up beside me offering comfort when they needed, I took time out and read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  Wow - amazing book.

2. Night out - so in order to recharge I set off with my gorgeous friend from down the road and we hit the busy streets of Carlton to enjoy the movie - and it totally lived up to my expectations.

3. A treat -  and of course we enjoyed some delectable goodies at Brunetti's afterwards.  Lovely way to end the week.

I hope your weekend is wonderful and Happy Grateful Day!  Link up here and join in the fun.


Monday, May 16

You HAVE to make this.... {fig and frangipane tart}

I came across this recipe late one night, filed it away (or maybe i even printed it off straight away) and added it to my collection as I love any recipe that includes fresh figs, because I have an enourmous fig tree out the backyard and always need ways to use them.

When it came time to make it, I was looking after some other kids, so had a brood double my normal and given the weather was lousy, I sat them all around my kitchen bench and began to bake with them.

One tipped in the butter, the other the sugar, and they all watch me slice open the figs.  They laughed as I rolled out the pastry and I think we even were making "Apple Eyes"* with fruit from the fruit bowl.  

This tart is amazing, to say the least.  I was concentrating on baking with four children under 5 that I didn't consider for a moment just how delicious this tart would be, but when it came out of the oven, and those sweet little friends mother  came to pick them up, we promptly decided a coffee and some tart would be ideal.

Here is what you need;

sheet of short crust pasty (or you could make your own)
100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
100g almond meal
8 fresh figs, halved  (although i'm thinking other fruits could be used when figs are no longer in season!)
jam (like strawberry or apricot - but this is optional)

What you need to do;

1 - preheat your oven to 200 degrees, get your pastry out of the freezer and let it thaw out a little till you can roll it out of a floured surface.  I didn't have a loose-bottom flan tin, so I used a slice tin, but lined it with baking paper.  Place the pastry in your choice of tin and put some baking paper over the top and use either baking beans or rice and blind bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the paper and beans/rice and bake again for a further 5 minutes.
2. Reduce the oven to 180 degrees, in a bowl beet together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually at the beaten egg, the almond meal and combine until you a a soft paste (like peanut butter).
3. Spoon the paste into the pastry case (you might find this a little sticky, i used a spatula and it worked a treat to get it in all the corners).  Place the figs on top, snuggling them down into the paste.  I like to put my figs open way up, but it doesn't matter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the past is set and golden.
4.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and with a pastry brush, give a generous brush with a jam of your choice to add a lovely gloss to the dish.

Serve as is, or with ice-cream or creme fraiche. Yum!

*Apple eyes - put two apples infront of your eyes and hey presto kids think it's hilarious! 

Sunday, May 15

fancy pants {summer lovin'}

It's time to accept that sunny days, bare arms and gelato are well and truely over.....

So, are you ready for the winter chill?  Well, if you live in Melbourne that winter freeze has already graced us with her presence that see's my heater running all day, my slippers on all the time and several cups of tea being made to savour the warmth and curl my fingers around the cup. 

But a few weeks ago, when those last few rays of sunshine were shining, my daughter and I were savouring it.  Her favourite outfit this Summer has been a singlet and knickers.  That's it.  I'm struggling to convince to wear more layers these days. So we've compromised that she can wear the singlet over a skivvy!  Sometimes!

My favourite outfits have most certainly been dresses and skirts. This circle skirt, made by me, and such a cinch, it literally took me less than an hour to whip up, has me wishing it was Summer again! 

My daughter thought it was worth dancing about, so I joined her.  

 If you fancy a circle skirt for yourself or a little girl you know, you can find this awesome tutorial here and get to it.

Otherwise, just take a snap of an outfit you love to wear and link up with my favourite fashionista. 

Top; Ojay
Skirt; made by me,
Shoes; Myer
Hat; Sportsgirl


Saturday, May 14

I'm grateful for....meeting bloggers

I know this post is a long time coming!   I've been meaning to post for it for a while, and then have a missed a few Gratefuls....so

Today, I'm grateful for.....

1.  Meeting bloggers in real life.

During the school holidays I got the chance to arrange a little catch up with Kymmie from Day in the Life of Us and Cate from Keep Cate Busy!

Wow - what a whirlwind of a morning with the three of us (and a combined seven children!)  and Cate having to overcome a flat tyre and long wait for the RACV.  And what lovely ladies they are in real life. I'm grateful that through blogging, I've been able to meet some wonderful, inspirational and truely talented folk, that I otherwise would not have had the privilege of knowing.

It was like we were already acquainted (well, in the virtual sense) and we just picked up conversation like old friends, shared breakfast, helped each others kids with what ever it is they were requesting, and had a good belly laugh!

I'm lucky I even have these snaps, as it wasn't until I was leaving that it dawned on me, that not one single photo was taken!  I quickly shoved the camera into my son's hand.....

and this is what he produced.....

Kymmie and I were like a giggling pack of school girls, for he was trying so hard to get a picture of our heads.  I resorted to trying to take the picture myself, but we couldn't control the laughter!  Lucky he had taken the very first picture perfectly and I didn't realise till i got home.

Thanks lovely ladies, for making meeting bloggers so much fun!

Join in with this special blogger (whom I'd also love to meet in real life) as she has her own meeting bloggers story to tell!


Thursday, May 12

my creative space {a dozen..}

I love custom orders.  I also love repeat customers.  The ones that come back and say "Oh i just loved it, can i have more!" Why yes, you certainly may!!!

And this is no exception.  A recipient of a Key Fob as a gift has now come as a customer herself and ordered a dozen Key Fobs!  An assortment at my own discretion.  Oh what fun!

Given free license, I chose a pinch of retro.....

Some florals.....

 and softer combinations.....

And of course a bit of colour punch!

Now for dozens more creativity, pop over to it's new home here! 

Wednesday, May 11

just a spot of shopping.....

Kimberly Ovitz cutout dress
405 GBP - brownsfashion.com

Gerard Darel biker jacket
490 EUR - gerarddarel.com

Black mid calf boot
17 GBP - debenhams.com

Jane Norman cross body bag
18 GBP - janenorman.co.uk

Ippolita tear drop earring
1,250 GBP - harrods.com

Feather jewelry
30 AUD - birdsnest.com.au

Lauren by Ralph Lauren scarve
75 GBP - houseoffraser.co.uk

Slimmer belt
21 EUR - shopfriiscompany.com

Oh look at all that loveliness.  Yes, just a spot of shopping.  A divine yellow leather biker jacket, stunning black jersey dress that i dare say would be so easy to wear from day to night.  And whilst on on the biker theme, why not some military boots.  These ones, a bargin at only 17 pounds!  Now of course, the Harrods onyx earrings were a splurge, but tell me they are not totally gorgeous and well, everyone needs a few accessories like a floral bag, a scarf and cute little leopard print belt.

shhhh just don't tell anyone about my shopping expedition! To Polyvore that is.  Oh yes, the cheapest way to shop, without actually spending a cent!!  Just so much fun seeing what catches my eye.  I whipped this little set up in a few minutes just for fun - why not have a go yourself.  click here.