Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jute wrapped vases.

Leading up to my sisters 30th, she mentioned she was going to craft her vases so they would match and could she borrow my glue gun . . . In other words she would tell me what she wanted done then sit back while I did all the work.


I don't mind I love to craft.

I attempted to use hot glue, but as mentioned previously in my cake stand post, I just can not get hot glue to stick to glass. So with some basic craft glue liberated from my dads shed I swirled glue around the bases of each vase then wrapped each in jute, over lapping a few stands to make it 'rustic'.

At the 30th party these vases were spread along the tables with gravel in the bottom to hold up thin candles.

*WARNING* when using candles in glass make sure there is distance between the flame and glass. We did have one of the taller vases break when the candle tipped to the side.

I may be linked up at these fab parties.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Welcome to the jungle!

So right now I'm laid up on bed rest, my lower back has been a problem for years, enough to give me grief a couple times a year, not enough so for surgery.

But it's when I can't do anything that the motivation to get tasks or projects done gets stronger. I will resist. I will get my bed rest. With a little help of my laptop maybe I can get a few blog posts sorted.

To start with I will share with you the transformation of my back yard. It's only little, but I could never keep on top of the upkeep. There was no back gate so to mow it the lawn mower needed to come through the house. It got neglected many times.

My bunny Hugo (dec.) loved the long grass, even my sisters dog would bound about when he came to stay.

I poisoned off the grass twice and it still grew back. I dug out 1/3 of it by hand, and it still grew back.

So the decision to replace the old fences was a great starting point to get rid of the grass. If it was going to go, best to do it before the new fences went up.

My brother in law came around one day with an awesome digger (my name for it, not his) and got rid of all the lawn. Then he and my dad spread out and compacted some 'crusher dust' to keep it mud free. A few weeks later my fences were replaced, just in time for the arrival of Toby the dog.

My decision for the yard was to pave around the fence line, install artificial turf and then place pots, troughs and wine barrels all over the paving to bring some plants back to the yard.

The current paving was really old, I was unable to match it. I was given some reclaimed pavers from around an old pool that were a similar colour and style but not the same size, and I was able to buy more reclaimed pavers from a local paving place that again were not matching in colour or size but were the same style. I don't mind though. It will be an eclectic collection of planters so the paving can be a mix too.

My dad installed the pavers. And then what had to be over two of the hottest days this summer he installed the artificial grass.

And I love it, and so does Toby!

I may be linked up at these fab parties.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jam Donut Muffins

I love a good muffin.

I try and I make all sorts, and I love myself a bit of berry.

I also have the fondest memories of visiting markets as a child and my parents grabbing a bag of freshly cooked jam donuts, or even stopping at the road side van after a footy match, but unfortunately as I got older I discovered I have an intolerance to sulfates, and guess what goes into the sweet gooey mess that passes as jam in a donut, yep preservatives in the 220 range.

So no more freshly fried jam donuts for me.

But these are a great alternative.

I found a cute mix of two of my favourite sweet eats.

Jam Donut Muffins.

Jam Donut Muffins
  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 12 teaspoons jam 
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. 

Combine sugar, oil, egg and milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full. Place 1 teaspoon jam or jelly on top.  

Cover jam with enough batter to fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  

Bake at 180'C for 20-25 minutes or till done.  Brush tops of muffins with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar.   Serve warm with lots of love.  Makes 1 dozen.

I will be linked up at these fab parties

Painted Brick Walls

Internal brick walls........urgh..........not my favourite look.

Lovely feature bricks surrounding a fire place, now that is a good look.

But basic construction bricks left exposed, nah, not my thing.

It was one on the cringe factors in my home that I wanted fixed up straight away.

Well in July this year I will have been in my home for 7 years and YEP, you guessed it, I still have brick walls. They are in my lounge, dining and laundry rooms.

It is one job my wonderful tradie family is not willing to tackle themselves.

My thoughts are to have batons installed and then have plaster sheets put up. That way there is a cavity to place cables should I need power or TV points placed there. 

It has been suggested to just paint the walls or render them, but I don't think I want the extra 'texture' in the lounge specifically. 
A 'spanner in the works' in getting this job done is I had an air-con split system installed on the brick wall in the lounge, this was done as a surprise for me the first summer I was in my place. So it will need to be removed when the plastering happens, and as an older home it needs some work in other areas and I would prefer to get all the plastering done in one go. 
and lets not mention the $$$ factor in paying tradies to do the job as opposed to providing lunch for family and doing return favours.

My Laundry room has been my first attempt in covering up the bricks.

I chose to paint in here as the room is small and I don't want to loose the space in plastering the walls. When I completed this job I had a pet rabbit who slept in the laundry. and anyone else who has had a 'house rabbit' knows their fur gets everywhere!!! this included stuck all up the exposed brick, it was like a magnet, and I had to vacuum the walls regularly. 

My thought was if the brick was painted the fur wouldn't stick so much and the room would keep a little cleaner.

So one Saturday I began. I prepared the bricks by scrubbing with a dry brush and vacuuming to clean off any loose material.
I just used ordinary wall paint that I had painted my walls with, no sealer. I started with a foam brush, but that got ripped to shreds pretty quick so I used an old brush.

I started by painting the grout lines, this was a long task and you can see by my photo's, they were taken at night. Thankfully my neighbours were having a party that night, so I had some great music in the background to keep my going.

Once all the lines were filled I just slapped that paint on the bricks using both a brush for the first coat and a roller for the second.

My home is definitely rustic chic (or so I want it to be) so if there were small crevices in the brick not covered I didn't mind. Lots of little rustic bits look great in my mind, as opposed to trying to fill in every gap and missing some that will stand out like a sore thumb.

I loved the look when it was finished, so much cleaner looking and the paint did stop most of the rabbit fur sticking to the brick. Now to get onto some storage in here.

I will be linked up at these fab parties.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Valentines Florentines

Something a little sweet for your sweetheart......

I whipped these up one with Valentines in mind.

Red is not a colour I'm a fan of so I won't be decorating for valentines but as for food, red is always a draw card for me.

I made a few adjustments from the recipe I found on All recipes. I wanted to take these as snacks to work and peanuts are a not allowed in my workplace so I replaced the 1 1/4 cups of peanuts with rice bubbles and chopped white chocolate.

This is a very easy recipe.... throw it all in a bowl, mix it up, drop it on a cookie sheet and bake.


4 cups corn flakes, crushed
1 cup sultanas
3/4 cup rice bubbles
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
1 cup glace cherries chopped
1 tin condensed milk.

Melted dark chocolate to coat the Florentines bases with later.

As mentioned above, throw it all in a bowl mix it up and drop spoon fulls onto a lined cookie sheet - please make sure it is lined as the condensed milk will caramelise and be hard to lift if put straight on the cookie sheet.

I also baked some in cupcake liners in a muffin tray these were also good!!

Bake at 180'C for 10 - 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them they will brown up quick in the last few minutes. You do want them to have a bit of colour, but if you leave them to blonde they won't stay together well. 

Let them cool on the trays, them lift and spread the melted dark chocolate over the bases.

Serve with a cuppa and you and your valentine will be sweet!

I will be linked up at these fab parties.