pizza pinwheels

woah! double recipe trouble! C has been working which means the craft room slash office has been out of bounds. I have been working in my next favourite room - the kitchen! These party delights are very moorish, warning: it is hard not to stop munching the little beauties!

This recipe is a bit hap-hazard as I just make it up as I go along but it means that you have the freedom to add and remove what you like.
What I used:

2 puff pastry sheets
1/2 a red capsicum, finely chopped
few squirts of tomato paste
finely chopped spring onion
grated cheese
finely chopped basil

Pre-heat your oven to around 190-200.

Lay your pastry sheets out to start defrosting - this should only be about 3 minutes before they're workable, don't leave any longer as they will be very floppy.

Spread out your squirts of tomato paste onto the sheets - go right to the edges.

Sprinkle your toppings (just like a pizza) on top.

Roll up the square into a log.

Cut 1 inch slices from the log. (what's a more appetising word than log? stick?)

Lay out your slices on an oiled baking tray, give them enough room to expand.

Chuck in the oven for around 15 - 20 mins until pastry is puffed up and golden brown.

I know how tempting it will be to grab one of those little circles and shove it in your gob straight away - beware - they are super hot nuclear reactors so take care and blooowwww (yes I learnt the hard way!). Eat hot or cold. Hurray.

mint berry frappe

Fzzzz, its been hot. As I mentioned on my last post I was going to try out a Mint Berry Frappe. It was delish and sooo refreshing. Here's the recipe for my cooler-downer.

Few tips of mint - save one for the garnish
A handful of frozen berries (you can get these in a bag from the supermarket)
3 or 4 ice cubes
4 freshly squeezed oranges

Chuck it all in a blender and ta-da! If don't want such a thick result add more orange juice. Next Frappe will be pineapple and mint with a sneaky dash of vodka.


homemade gifts

Here are a couple of easy Christmas pressies that I put together last week. The lavender for the pillows were from the harvest that I had in November (see here). I put them in little calico bags with messages printed on them and tied them up with ribbons. I also kept a few for myself to go in the coat wardrobe and under my pillow on the bed.

The purse is made from some fabric that I got for my birthday in October. I used a Crafty Minx pattern. I love the colour and the cute retro teacups.

Christmas Day was fantastic as usual, I love catching up with the family and over-indulging. We had our little fur baby with us for the day and she was quite happy about all the pats and cuddles. (Unfortunately was so wrapped up in the day I forgot to take some photos! durr).

I'm putting together my plans for the next few weeks off (so excited!), hopefully the weather continues to be magnificent (27 today) and it should consist of some crafty projects, visiting relatives, days at the beach, new years parties and resolutions, leash-training Lucy, soap-making and many ice cold ciders! To cool down this afternoon I'm going to make a mint-berry frappe (I'll post the recipe if it works!).


muesli bars

These healthy treats are a great lunch box addition or handy snack for unexpected guests. Give them a whirl!

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desicated coconut
1/3 cup wheatgerm
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 sunflower kernels
1/2 pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup flax seeds
100g butter
1/2 cup honey
1/8 cup brown sugar

Grease and line a square tin with baking paper.

Cook oats, coconut, wheatgerm, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds over a low heat in a fry pan. Stir occasionally for 8 mins but don't let it burn!

When light brown, transfer this mix to a metal bowl.

Stir in the cranberries and flax seeds.

Cook butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer without stirring for 5 mins. Add the wet mix to the dry.

Stir until combined and then spoon into your tin. Press down on the mix firmly and pop in the fridge until set. Chop up into slices and store in a tinfoil-lined container.

Munch at your desire.


Christmas Cards

The festive season is officially here and as we spend our weeks 'catching up' and weekends frantically Christmas shopping and at 'work-do's' crafters around the world are relishing in the opportunity to celebrate the craftiest time of year.

These cards are my first contribution to handmade festiveness and I am really happy with the result. I embroidered some Christmas images onto some calico and then machined sewed these onto cards. The interior is stamped with my new alphabet stamps (see older post).

Look out for some recipe's, more craftiness and some Christmas Day pics coming soon.

You may be wondering what happened to the boot camp wrap-up. Unfortunately C had some bad family news so this past week has been a bit up the wahzoo and I didn't make it to the last class. The one result I can determine from the experience is the motivation and knowledge of my capability to actually exercise more in the New Year. I don't think I should have any trouble with that since we now have a little canine ratbag to keep entertained.


boxing boot camp day five

'arg me knees' is the first thought of the day. For some reason both knees have decided to go very funny and have objected to any impact. This meant that boot camp was a lot less intense than usual but I modified my moves and still managed to 'work out'.

It's the last class on Wednesday. In hindsight I should have weighed and measured prior to starting the training for a comparison at the end. My pants do a feel a bit lighter though and I will attempt to perform an assessment on fitness/weightloss later in the week.

Blog hijack!

A welcome little treasure has joined our family and she is proving to be an exhausting yet delightful addition.
Meet Lucy.

Downward facing dog


boxing boot camp day four

I had my first motivational crisis today. After corporate carnage all day I was so fatigued that I began to internalise a really complicated situation in my head. To go or not to go. To fight or flight.

I went. How could I let my diary down?

I went through the motions and built up my second layer of sweat for the week. As the exercises now are routine I focused more on the psychology of the trainers. How do they motivate us?

Blackmail is one option. If you don't finish three reps of burpies, star jumps, press ups, sprints and jogs in the allocated time then the whole group has do to ten burpies. Guilt pushes you through. Or you just pretend you did three, like Jules said "I'm gonna lie".

Temptation is another motivation. "Nearly there, one more sprint and then you can rest", "It's the last class of the week", "Almost done, Almost done". I think this is the technique that I am most responsive to. I do like my rest and being told that I can have some if I just do a  little bit more means I will follow through.

Positive reinforcement. "You're doing great guys", "You are the fastest group", "Great work, great press ups".
This verbal condescenion grinds my gears. I have built up a resentment towards them as their pathetic excuses for compliments are hollow and totally de-motivational. Oh and I also find their jokes about doing an extra ten press ups hilarious*.

Can you tell I'm tired? And maybe a little bit grumpy? I need some yoga to balance me out.

*I'm being sarcastic. I sweated all my wit out today.


boxing boot camp day three

We need a montage. A sporty fit montage. Pump some iron, do some lunges, punch and jump. Very exercisey.

16 degrees, drizzle and a cold breeze were a motivation tonight to get the muscles pumping. I almost enjoyed myself. And, ohhh this is the best bit, there was no sprint, jog, sprint, jog. Hurrah!

Stitch did afflict me halfway through my star jumps and my hip is starting to act up but apart from that I am feeling fitter. I think wearing a muscle tank also motivates the punches more so than a baggy tee. I felt like a real exerciser.

I wonder if I'll keep this up after bootcamp. I can see myself gently jogging around the neighbourhood. I could be one of those people, you know the types, the ones that run for fun. Imagine that.


boxing boot camp day two

For the past two days my body has been in shock. I thought I might starve as my arms are too weak to raise food to my mouth. Driving is a painful experience. C took to calling me 'old girl'. "Having trouble sitting down old girl?". I have groaned, I have winced and I have not bent in any direction.

day two

I think it was easier.  I don't feel like vomiting. Did I not try as hard, or have I actually increased my fitness after one class? Impossible. I must be cheating. My head is still doing a good impersonation of a beetroot though and my t-shirt is damp.
I spent more of this class observing than cursing. There are quite a mix in the group, young, old, fit, unfit, saggy, tight, short shorts and tank tops. One gentleman felt obliged to motivate the group as we finished the class with more sit ups and toe-touches by advising us that "Pain is living", "Pain is the gateway to life". Whatever dude. Masochist. Pain sucks.

I am now reluctant to remove my shoes as I fear I could fumigate the house. I can picture our neighbours finding us in two days time, asphyxiated on the floor. Cause of death. Gym shoes.

Four days recovery. Hurrah. Do I want a training plan for the weekend? I do not. I want wine and cheese thank you very much.


boxing boot camp day one

This post is not crafty. It's a diary I'll be keeping for the next few weeks.

So I signed up to a three week bootcamp. Why? Well in the comfort of the office at my desk I thought it was  probably a good idea, I envisaged a fit, ab-weilding, toned Alice. "That would be quite good" I thought.

A bit of background: I don't exercise. It's almost a rule. Yoga doesn't count as that's a lifestyle that gives me strength of mind and body. Not fitness. I haven't been fit for around 10 years. I consider running something that your body is capable of if you are being chased and your 'flight' mechanisms kick in. Cardio is a dirty word. Weights? Pfft, why would I want to lift something heavy when I could lift something light? I enjoy food yet I'm not grossly overweight or anything. I'm happy with my body but I'm definitely not what you would describe as 'fit'.

Day One.
It's windy. Very windy. I struggle to hear the 'Yelly man' as he asks if anyone minds if he gets up in their face and screams at you. I want to raise my hand.
Lets stand in a line and punch. This is ok, I can punch. You don't put your thumb in your fist, you keep you knuckles straight. This is great. Uppercut, punchy, uppercut, punchy. Jog a little. It all sounds great. I can feel my face gently starting to redden.

We're breaking into groups. We have heard that the lady is nice and doesn't yell so we try to get in her group. Turns out we rotate anyway so that was pointless. Start in the 'exercise' group. Burpies, Star Jumps, Press Ups.

My 'burpies' are little more than 'bad breath' after two. The man yells we're doing a good job and to keep it up. He's talking to me I think. I keep it up. My stomach sinks to the ground in press ups. I wonder if I can get away with this? I'll just raise my head up and down? Whistle.

We're with the 'nice lady'. The cow makes us sprint. and jog. and sprint and jog. and sprint and jog. I want to vomit. This is ridiculous. Oh no, I'm falling behind the pack. I stop to pretend to pull up my pants so I can get a breather. Sprint, jog, sprint,jog, where is that bloody whistle??!

Boxing, get the pads on (wise choice here as this means I can stand still and take the hits, get my breath back). I make jokes as I squint through the sweat. My turn to box. Punchy punchy, this is the best bit.

Back to the burpies. He says you can squat if you're starting to tire. I am starting to tire. I squat. I jump while unenthusiastically throwing my hands around in an attempt at star jumps. This is really starting to get ridiculous. Why are we here? How long has this been going on? I don't want to sprint again. What will happen if I vomit. HOW IS THAT WOMAN SMILING? There are very 'fit' people here. They actually sprint.

40 mins down (thank god!) and we are into sit ups and press ups and other variations with ridiculous names like 'crunchie's'. I will be sick. My long-dormant muscles are very shocked at their sudden requirement to move. The clouds are coming over. There are spits of rain. They evaporate immediately when touching my firey red face.

It's over. I'm so glad. My stomach is not happy. I feel ill. I'm glad that I didn't collapse. I'm terrified that they said each day will get harder.

Why did I park so far away? My poor legs. Get me home.


stamp my feet

I type this with ink-stained fingers as I have just been playing with my new stamp set! I picked up this beautiful little set from the Christmas Encraftment Market today. I couldn't wait to get home to stamp my afternoon away (not in a tantrum, but in a ink and rubber utopia). This set is going to be the handiest crafty accessory for Christmas present labelling, I'll post my homemade cards in the next couple of weeks.

Also at the market I managed to get my paws on some vintage linen teatowels from Follow the White Rabbit which should be morphing into something soon!

Here are some more stampy things that I have found on pinterest... hmm I can see this developing into an obsession.. Time to crank out the rubber eraser and craft knife?

Source: via Wayward on Pinterest

Source: via Wayward on Pinterest

Source: via Wayward on Pinterest

Also, I hope everyone exercised their democratic right as citizens of New Zealand today. I feel so lucky that we live in a country where we can participate in the election of our leaders.


mad granny

I have an addiction. These square gems are meditative to create and bring little leaps of excitement seeing them grow in number. I'm thinking a blanket? I love the retro styling and appropriate name of 'granny squares'. I do feel like a granny, ferreting away with my crochet hook on the couch!

Summer must be here, it was gloriously hot today - in retrospect we should have gone to the beach for the first swim of the season. Maybe next weekend?

Here are some more granny square treats I found on pinterest for inspiration:

Source: via Mary on Pinterest


DIY 1940s fascinator

If you're heading to the races or perhaps a wedding or other special occasion this fascinator is a great way to accessorise. It's really simple to make and should take around 2 hours. You will need:

A strip of netting
One shoulder pad or other base
One hair clip
20 strips of the fabric of your choice (50cm long x 4 cm wide)
needle and thread

Start by sewing your hair clip onto the reverse side of your shoulder pad (the inside curve).

Turn the pad over and sew the netting along the straight side with some overlaps.

I recommend trying the fascinator on at this stage to make sure the netting is sitting correctly. You want some of it sitting over your face - more so your eyes than your mouth (you want to be able to eat and drink!).

Get one strip of fabric and iron the long sides together to create a fold down the length.

With your needle and thread do a running stitch down the length of the fabric about 1cm away from the open edges.

Once you are at the end, gently pull the thread so the fabric bunches into a flower shape.

Pull it tight and sew the ends together so the "flower" holds its shape. Choose its positioning on the shoulder pad and sew directly on. I suggest starting on the edge with the netting.

Repeat this process with all of your fabric strips, placing them closely together, until you are finished. Viola!

Position perfectly on your styled hair and you're done - use some bobby pins for extra hold if required.
You can easily add jewels, feathers and other embelishments if you desire.

Here are some beautiful ideas for inspiration.

Source: via Sophie on Pinterest


lavender harvest

four baskets full sir

I've been waiting for a day over the last few weeks that has been warm enough to harvest the mass of lavender at the front door. Today was that day. I expertly made my way around the thousands of bees who were not too happy that I was taking away their bounty and now we are over-loaded with lavender for drying. I have hung up around a third of it in the garage and will now wait for a few weeks for it to dry into the aromatic loveliness that will be stuffed into all sorts of wee treats.

I was lucky enough to receive this magnificent book for my birthday and it details all the magic that lavender has to offer, including its antiseptic and sedative properties. Here are some of the ways that I use lavender and some recommended from the book:

- massage lavender essential oil into temples in a circular movement when suffering from eye strain or tension headaches, it relaxes you straight away.

- add a few drops of oil to a bowl of boiling water then cover your head with a towel and inhale to help colds and flu.

- dab the oil on 'neat' to grazes, burns, insect bites.

- dry for pot pourri just like nana used to. There is something so homely and french-provincial about having dried lavender hung around the house.

- dry and sew the broken up heads into fabric sachets for drawers and wardrobes to get rid of moths and make your clothes smell nice.

- put a sachet of dried lavender under your pillow to encourage a better nights sleep.

- add 10 drops of oil to 1 litre of warm water, 1 tsp of baking soda and a few drops of liquid soap for a green spray cleaner - Thanks Wendyl!

- and sometimes - I don't know if this is recommended - I put a dab of oil behind each ear to keep those nasty stress monsters away in the corporate showdowns.

Ideally you should have English Lavender in the garden if you are looking to get the oils and a really fragant dried end-product, but French (like mine above) will do just fine for drying etc.