Monday, April 30, 2012

Made it Monday :: Pinned Sewing Kit Jar Made

Yes, I am one of those people who madly pin on Pinterest. 

I do not have 1000's of pins as I am trying to spend more time in creation mode rather than pinning mode.  And I like to pin with purpose.  Some of my pins are pure inspiration or aspiration.  But most of my pins are intended for me to have a go at.

Rick started the ball rolling with his cabinet.  Then I knitted this rocket.

But this is my first item from my 'Craftiness' board.

Here is my pin but go here for the real thing.

Armed with my new hot glue gun I got busy.  After years of seeing Martha Stewart with her hot glue gun, I thought it was high time I got one too.  And boy do I feel crafty now!  Not to mention all the things I have been mending with it!

I love the concept and have seen many versions of it.  But I didn't quite nail it.  I am collecting jars to make more but in the meantime, I ripped this pin cushion off and placed a square one on instead.

The round one does look better but up close it was sloppy.  I also stuffed it with batting a swell as wadding thinking that I was being smart using up scraps.  It just didn't work.  I will give it another go though.  I think, once mastered, these sewing kit jars will make lovely gifts. Might actually be ready for Christmas this year!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Feed Me Friday :: Roasted Tomatoes . . .

. . .  destined to become soup.  Love this weather.

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Cabin Fever Rocket

My little fellas have been sick.  That ooey gooey snot kind of sick topped with chronic fevers of 39C+.  There has been round the clock medicating, midnight comforting and a constant vigil with Liam in case he fits.  Praise God he hasn't had another seizure.

My boys are on the mend, with just the trail of goo from their noses to mop up.  Meanwhile, Rick and I have succumbed.  At least we aren't nursing the boys through it anymore!  I dare say the lack of sleep for the past couple of weeks reduced our normally tough constitutions, that and it is that time of the year.  Who hasn't had a cold?

During all this time I have hardly stepped out of the house.  And cabin fever hit.  We were going nuts.  Then, Jen said to come over on Wednesday for her little Harry's birthday.  He turned 2.  It was a great goal to work towards, this party, but we failed to heal up in time and decided to keep our germs to ourselves.

How are you with dates? Me? I'm hopeless.  I remember Jen's birthday because I have known her for 27 years, but do you think I can remember her babies' birthdays?  Ha!  I struggle to remember my own two boys'.  So I was not prepared for Harry's and then not being able to get out got me in a panic about a present.

After a quick search on my favourite's list on Ravelry, I rediscovered this pattern.

A rocket, what kid does not like a rocket?  I used to think that knitted toys were a bit lame, but there are heaps of really funky ones out there.  And this little guy was super easy to knit up!  My boys are already putting orders in for some and my adult step-daughter wants one too!

The pattern calls for duplicate stitch.  If you don't know what duplicate stitch is, here is a tutorial. Tres easy.

You can find my ravelled details here

What is your go-to handmade gift for little boys or girls?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I pinned it! He made it!

I have been hinting for a cabinet for ages.  Rick has been hinting that he would make one for ages.  And after the cabinet makeover, he was more determined than ever to build a cabinet, perfect for our needs.

I created a board on Pinterest called 'Things my Hubby to make me!'.  And I would show him this and that in catalogues of styles that I like.  The great part is, he wanted to make it just as much as I wanted it.  I'm blessed to have a creative man in my life.

grey cabinet
1. Love the grey cabinet as pinned from here

From another angle
2. I'm not a fan of two-toned furniture, but this is an exception pinned from here

3. And yet, it is this colouring that I like the best for our decor which is what Rick selected himself!  As pinned from here

So this is what happened:

Rick went into the 'Man Cave' aka the garage, and tinkled with these tools and did this:

And when trims and a few licks of paint were added I got my cabinet!

Rick enjoyed making this so much that he wants to make an entertainment unit.  He is even toying with the idea of selling them.  Whatever he decides I am cool with, as long as I get to keep this one!

We designed the profile of the top trim together

The knob supplier couldn't provide matching knobs !!  But you can't tell unless it is pointed out to you.

Finally, a place to house my Great Grandmother's bowl, gifted to me by my Granny years ago

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cabinet Makeover

My boys have been sick for a week now.  And I have finally fallen victim.  Our weekend was really quiet.  Cabin fever has struck me too but I don't have the energy and seeing that I suffer from SAD (seasonal anxiety disorder!!), the grey days have drained the enthusiasm.  Where do you go on a wet day with two sick kids?  To bed and play lego.

So, this is a perfect opportunity to play catch up.  During my sabbatical from blogging, Rick and I got crafty.  I have shown you some of my crafty exploits, but today I would like to share what Rick has been up to.

Without any formality or real discussion, Rick and I have become increasingly home-made and creative.  I like it.  He tinkers outside with his tools and paint, while I cut and sew, or knit or hook.  I really like love it.

And the boys are getting into it too.  Colouring, painting, lego building.  I love having the TV off and seeing their little hands bring to life the creations conceived in their beautiful little heads. 

So the bug has taken hold.

Rick took this cabinet that was given to me years ago, for a make over.  To experiment with milk paint.  To see if he liked 'doing-up' furniture.  This is not the first furniture makeover he has done.  But this one we think we will sell.

Rick said that he would work with Milk Paint again, even though it is not a favourite.  I like the look of it very much.  Even though I've always liked dark stained timber, this cabinet had a dreadful varnish on it.

The whole time Rick was making over this cabinet, he kept saying to me that he could make a better one.  Which is good because I would love a better one!  And then he did build one.  But I will show you that tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Feed Me Friday :: Garlic Bean Pasta

I don't often enter competitions which explains why I don't often ever win anything. 

Aaaaages ago I entered the Kleenex Mums recipe competition.  It was to win a Kitchenaid so how could I resist?!  I knew it was a shameless way of collecting recipes to bulk up their website and therefore I was not allowed to publish this recipe myself once entered, but I will link you to it because I think it is yummy and wholesome and very very budget friendly.

Garlic bean pasta
image via Kleenex Mums (link above) but originally mine: Brave New Me (just in case they own the photo too!)
And no.  I didn't win.  I am still not an illustrious Kitchenaid Mixer owner.  I'll keep saving!

Bon apetite!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sleeping on the Edge

And I am not talking about the perils of sharing your bed with a spouse and little people.

Since January, I have hardly slept.  Yes, the little sleep that I was getting since becoming a mummy reduced even further.  It is fitful.  I'm on edge.

Every strange noise coming from down the hall makes me leap to my feet, run down to the other end of the house and brace myself as I enter his room to check on him.  On my little Liam.  His seizures have always occurred in his sleep.  At any time in his sleep. 

The last one was at 4 in the morning, Easter Monday.  We heard a strange choking/moan.  Rick and I both leapt to our feet and ran down to Liam's room. Turning that corner into his room, seeing him struggling to breathe as his body was rigid and shaking, is a sight forever burnt on my mind along with the image of him fitting in the car only days earlier.

Liam gets the best bed hair!

Liam has the flu.  He has high temps and is breathing strangely due to congestion.  I am around-the-clock taking his temperature as high temps can bring on seizures.  I am tired.  I am writing every thing down.

And today will be 1 week of Liam being on his seizure medication.  We are easing him on it and at this stage he won't be on full dose for quite some time.  The doctor said to expect more seizures until that point.  It is a possible 2-year medication period.  This concerns me greatly as there are side-effects. 

Two nights ago, Liam's temp was 38.8C and he was shaking.  Like really shaking.  If he wasn't conscious I would have said that it was seizure-like.  Full on body tremors.  This could have been the high temperature but one of the medication's side-effects is tremors.  It is heart breaking. 

And through this all, I keep in mind the fact that there are children out there faring far worse than my Liam.  That there are parents out there far more tired than I am.  I am truly grateful that I am coping.  I am so blessed to have Liam as my son.  He is an amazing little man that astounds me daily with his achievements, his art and his thoughts.

I am on edge, but that is where you get the best view.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kids' table makeover

Back in January last year, what seems like another lifetime away (believe me, I have lived another life since then!!), Rick and I were 'doing-up' some furniture

Sadly, when we were moving last July, because we gave away many items of furniture, the coffee table had to go too. It never got its makeover from us.  Perhaps its new owners have picked up where we left off- I don't know I haven't thought to ask!

We also had plans for this little set

So in keeping with my colour inspiration:

And using this gorgeous chalkboard paint

And Rick doing most of the work (99.9%)

 Our boys now have this activity table to destroy create on!

There is no left or right-handedness when there is chalk around.  One for each hand of course.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Made It Monday :: Granny Rug for Mother's Day

I got Mother's Day sorted early this year!  With all the kafuffle of last year, I sadly felt that I neglected my Mum.  So I decided to crochet her and her friend lap blankies.  In fact, these are the only crocheted blankets I have ever made to date! 

Because I still don't value my own crafting skills, I had to throw in something bought.  So I topped up the gift value with their favourite teas.

Now that I have two crocheted projects complete, there are heaps of things I've identified that I would do differently.  I struggle to keep the tension consistent and should perhaps use a larger hook than recommended for the yarn.  And I am dying to try out this joining technique too.

What are you making for your Mummy?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Feed Me Friday :: Honey Cakes

This is more for Valentine's Day than Black Friday but I'm not superstitious!

Since the discovery that wheat doesn't treat Liam very nicely, I've been on the scrounge for good alternatives.

Here is a deadset awesome place to find gluten-free baking recipes.  In fact, the two different flour mixes I use came from this great blog.

Yes, I need to work on my labelling.  Not very appealing!
These are the combos I make from Shauna's list:

For cakey baking I like this version:

200g almond meal
250g brown rice flour
250g buckwheat flour
150g tapioca flour
150g potato starch

And for non-cakey type of baking or for when I want to send Liam with some homebaking to his kindy I make this nut-free combo:

250g brown rice flour
250g buckwheat flour
200g maize flour
150g tapioca flour
150g potato starch

Even though Liam has no problem with gluten, it is just easy to go gluten-free to avoid the wheat.  And yes, I could just buy the gluten-free flour from the supermarket, but I like the idea of introducing other grains into my family's diet and these wholegrain flours are delightfully light!

But I didn't come to rave about gluten/wheat-free today.  I wanted to share with you a recipe I adapted from Stephanie Alexander using the gluten free flour above.  All my fellas love these and guests usually come back for seconds.  So I had to share it with you.

2/3 cup plain flour (gf mix containing almond meal)
1 tsp baking powder
90g salted butter plus a smidge more for greasing your pan
1 Tbl honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar (vanilla is nice or just add a dash of extract to mix)
1 Tbl dark brown sugar

Preheat oven 180C (mine is fan forced so conventional may be 195C).

Gently melt the butter and honey over low heat in a small saucepan.  Stir and set aside to cool a little.

With an electric mixer combine eggs and sugar.  Pour in the butter and honey mixture and whizz to combine.  Add sifted flour and baking powder and whizz again.  Note: if you are using normal plain flour, just use a wooden spoon at this point as you don't want to get the gluten going, it will stiffen your cake mix.  Combine until you get a lovely smooth batter.  If you have used normal flour, best to let the batter rest 15-20 mins.  I find with gluten free flour, the resting doesn't achieve much so I don't bother.

Brush your pans with melted butter (my pans are from Aldi- so so sweet!), then dust lightly with flour.

Pour your batter in til two-thirds full.

Bake for 10 mins or until you know what - be careful not to leave too long as they can dry out quickly if you make them in a small or shallow shape.  I also make these in my madeleine tin.  Allow to cool in pan for a minute before turning out on wire rack.

They keep well in the fridge or freezer.  Just reheat a little in microwave to bring its moistness back.  But thanks to my friend Nooch, I now give them a light spritz with lemon juice to revive them.  Delish.

Do you have a great baking recipe that is adapted for wheat/gluten-free?  Please share and link.  I'd be ever so grateful! xx
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