Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Summer display

The Christmas decorations are now all packed away. Kiara was very upset to come home form a friends house & find that they were all gone the other day.

I have replaced our festive decor with some things that I want to use as a reminder everyday on the things that make me the happiest.


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As you walk in the front door, you see this on the top of a low line bookshelf.
I catch myself smiling every time I see it.

It is everything that makes me happy. It reminds me to relax, enjoy my home & remember all the great beach holidays that we have.

All around my house I have glass bowls, jars stands, filled with shells that I have collected over many years of holidays. When I look at shells, I automatically feel relaxed & at peace.

Monday, 9 January 2012

A cool refreshing drink for these long hot summer days.

This is my second blog post for today but I need to share this one! 

It is summer here & if you live in Australia, I don’t need to tell you that because I am sure that you are feeling it right now.

This is the temperature in my house right now…

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35.5 degrees Celsius is the equivalent to 95.9 Fahrenheit.
So it is pretty hot in my little house right now. Some of you may say “Turn the aircon on!” but we don’t have air-conditioning. It is a choice we made that we did not want the added expense on our electricity bill.
We do however find other ways to keep cool.
This is one way that we keep hydrated.

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In the morning, I slice up a lemon (you could use any citrus fruit for this), place it in a jug & fill with water.

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Each time I pour a glass, I top the jug back up with cold water.

It is a lot more tastier than plain water & satisfies a thirst more than soft drinks or cordial.
It also has no added sugar, preservatives or nasties that you find in bottled drinks.

Another take on the no pattern required dress {this one is also a skirt!}

Yesterday, I posted a blog on the new take on the no pattern required dress.
Today, I am going to show you another version of this dress that can also be a skirt!
Yes, you make one & get 2!!

Here it is!

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This is the same as this dress…..

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But it is just shorter & doesn’t have straps.
This red & white striped dress is made from a soft knit fabric & is perfect for travelling as it does not crease. I wore it on our recent beach holiday & it was perfect.

You can find the instructions to make this 30 minute or less dress HERE

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A new take on the no pattern required dress! {even easier!}

The other day on the Sew, cook, laugh & live Facebook page, I shared a photo as part of the January photo challenge. On day 5, it was to be a photo of something I wore. This was the photo {& dress} that I posted.



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{Kiara designed her dress herself!}


This was a dress that I made in under 30 minutes & I wore it to 2 important events. I first wore it to my husbands work Christmas party & I also wore it to Kiara’s graduation. I received so many compliments about this dress. It was also the most super comfy dress that I have ever worn.



What I did not tell everyone who paid a compliment, is that this dress cost less than $10 to make & is essentially just 2 rectangles sewn together with elastic & straps added.
{There are some secrets that don’t need to be shared!}



What makes this dress fit so perfectly, is the addition of a nice wide belt. Check out the pictures below & you will see what I mean.



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As you can see from the picture on the right, it really is just 2 rectangles. The material is a big part of this dress as it must hang right on your body. I chose a patterned silky type material that feels like liquid on the body. I brought it from my little local fabric store when they were having a sale so it was also a bargain!

I am going to now divulge my secret to how easy this dress is to make.



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That is how easy it is to make the basic shape of this dress.
You then just need to measure a piece of elastic so that the length sits comfortably on the top of your bust.
Thread it through the elastic casing pocket at the top of the dress & sew it securely in place.
Try your dress on & hem it to the required length. I chose to use the rolled hem setting on my overlocker so that the dress kept is flowing feel all the way to the bottom.



I made 2 straps for this dress but it can also be strapless.
In the next picture, I had also thrown a little cropped denim vest on over the top.


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It is such an easy dress to make & I hope that you make one for yourself so that you understand why this is my new favourite dress!



Here are some other no pattern required dresses that I have made. Click on the photo’s to take you to instructions on how to make them.



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Friday, 6 January 2012

Learning to crochet! I have found the best tutorial ever!

So, if you remember, one of my new years resolutions was to learn to crochet.

I have just found the best beginners tutorial ever!




It is a great video tutorial that is for people like me who have never even picked up a crochet hook before. There is even a step by step instruction on how to fix mistakes! I think I may need that part!



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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Flower rings in seconds!

I made some stocking stuffers for the chickadees for Christmas & the ones they loved the most were these…..



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All you need is some resin flowers, blank rings & a hot glue gun.




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Just put a little hot glue on the back of the flower & stick to the blank ring.

Then you are done!




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I asked the wonderful Donna from



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To help me find all of the supplies for this project & she came through with the goods! I love buying my crafting supplies from
as she will happily help to source those hard to find items.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Buttermilk substitute. Quick and easy

A lot of recipes that I am finding lately, are using buttermilk as an ingredient.
Now, buttermilk is not something that I always have in the fridge.
I am trying to not jump in the 4wd & go to the shops every time I cook so I googled how to make buttermilk.

I can not believe how easy this buttermilk substitute is to make!

All you need is vinegar & milk.

Put 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a measuring jug. Add enough milk to make one cup.

I needed 1 & 3/4 of a cup of milk for the recipe I was using so I used 2 tablespoons of vinegar & added enough milk to take it up to 2 cups (500ml)

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Let it sit for 5 minutes & there you have it! Buttermilk substitute!

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Now I can try some more recipes that use buttermilk!
I used low fat milk so I hope that means that it is also better for the hips & thighs than normal buttermilk!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A new year, time to try some new things.

 

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So, it is 2012. I am a couple of days late doing this post but it is better late than never! I hope you all had a great New Years. I may have have fallen asleep a couple of hours early but we did enjoy the night on the beach with sparklers, glow sticks & a lot of dancing & laughter.



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With a New Year, I start with a list of things that I either want to learn or try.



This year, I am determined to learn how to crochet. I have been saying it for a while but now it is time.


I want to learn how to knit more than just a scarf.


I want to finish the patchwork quilt for my bed that I have had cut out & ready to sew for 6 months.


I want to make quilts as presents for all the members of my family for their birthdays this year.


I want to try one new recipe every week.


Some things that I want to do to improve my happiness & wellbeing are…..


I want to go for a walk with my chickadees everyday to spend time just talking with no interruptions.


I want to spend more time with our extended family.





What are the challenges you have set for yourself this year?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Life is a beach and then you have to go home

Well, we are back home! After 4 wonderful days of beach camping we have now come back to reality & a whole mountain of washing! After a hiccup to the start of our trip, everything was wonderful.
{thanks for letting the battery run flat in our 4wd Mr P!}



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I though that I would share some of our favourite things from our summer holiday.



This is what the chickadees loved the most….

Georgia



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Lots of climbing & hiking.   Looking for shells.   Finding hundreds of shells.   Roasting marshmallows on the camp fire.


Kiara



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Standing on anything to make her look taller than Mum in a photo.  Skim boarding in the ocean.  Hiking up Red Canyon. Playing beach cricket.




These were a few of my favourite things.



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Finding any excuse to dance {yes, I am shaking a coconut!}.  Spending time with Mr P. Taking lots of photo’s of the chickadees & being in awe of how beautiful & grown up they have become. And maybe I enjoyed the chance to have a few drinks on New Years eve a little more than I should have!Party smile



While it is great to be able to have a proper shower & sleep in my own bed, I am already missing the great times & people that made it such a wonderful holiday. I have to thank the other 2 families & my beautiful niece for sharing the fun times with us & I am already looking forward to the next one!



I hope all of my lovely readers also had a great Christmas & New Years.



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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas is nearly here!

As you know, I have been really sick (& still am) this week. All of the fabulous Christmas crafts & cooking blogs that I had planned to do, have not been able to make it to the blog. Now I am running so far behind in Christmas preparations for the big day that I am getting a little nervous. I am going to have to drag myself into the kitchen & cook until I drop today or at least tell the chickadees what to cook while I supervise! It is a little scary to think that Santa is having his last surf before he puts on the red suit & checks his list.


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I wanted to take this time to say a big thank you to all of you who have followed me on this amazing journey at Sew, cook, laugh & live over this past year. Without all of your fantastic comments & ideas, the blog wouldn’t work. It would just be some crazy woman posting photo’s & talking to herself.
I have to say a big thank you to my blog sponsors


The fantastic Sandy from

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& the wonderful Donna from

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To both of you lovely ladies, thank you for the amazing support & for taking a chance on me!

I can not say thankyou without also including the lovely ladies who are part of the



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You know who you are & some days I wonder what I did without you lovely ladies to chat to on those long nights when my hubby is away. I do take this opportunity to say sorry to your husbands/partners/kids for keeping you on the computer so much! You are all such a talented bunch of women & I want to offer the fantastic ladies who have Facebook/market businesses to be a guest on the blog next year to show off your fantastic handmade products. Thank you to all of you who have participated in the giveaways & ornament swaps. I like the idea of the swaps so much that I think we may do another craft swap once we are all over the festive season & the kids are back to school.

I am going to be taking a little time off from the blog between now & the new year. My wonderful, hardworking husband will be arriving home tonight in the big red rig (his version of Santa;s sleigh!) & will not be getting back in the big rig until the new year. We have a lot of family adventures planned & have so many things to see & do. I may drop by from time to time with pictures of what we have been up to.
Well, I have it on good authority that Santa has finished his last surf & is packing up the boards to head back to the village for final preparations.


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Did you know that there is a Santa tracker online? Head HERE to follow Santa as he gets ready for the big day.


From my family to yours, Have a truly magical Christmas & a wonderful New Year!


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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. Perfect for the Christmas table

 

I have not been feeling well over the last couple of days. That is why the blog has been so quiet. I have barely had the energy to open my eyes. So I have been unable to do the many blogs that I had planned. Today, I am going to share with you the Red Velvet Whoopie Pies that I made for my birthday a few weeks ago.


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If you have never had a whoopie pie before, they are a cross between & cake & a biscuit. Red Velvet is one of my favourite flavours of cake & now it is also my favourite flavour of whoopie pie.

If you have a red & white theme for your Christmas festivities, these would look gorgeous piled up on a plate.


 

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2tsp baking powder
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa
  • 50ml milk
  • 1tbsp red food colouring
For the icing:
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 30g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄2tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Beat together the butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer for 2–3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add the baking powder.


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Whisk in the flour, cocoa and milk in alternate batches on a low speed, starting and finishing with the flour – be careful not to over-beat. Whisk in the food colouring and a pinch of salt.


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Using an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon, spoon the mixture onto the trays.  Leave a 3cm gap between each as they will spread.


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Bake for 14 minutes, or until they’re puffed up and spring back on touching. Cool on the baking trays for at least 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.



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For the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter using an electric hand mixer. Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar. Beat on a low speed at first and increase the speed until the icing is smooth and fluffy. Use the icing to sandwich the pies together in pairs, with the flat sides facing each other. Dust with icing sugar before serving.



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Monday, 19 December 2011

Gingerbread house! We have had success for another year!

Well, the gingerbread house is done! Now, be aware that I was forced out of the kitchen by my chickadees as they wanted to decorate by themselves. I can not be held responsible for the gingerbread man with nipples {thanks Georgia}


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This is the chickadees version of a beach shack! The only input that I had was that the colours were to be red, white & blue. Very fitting for an Aussie beach shack.

At the last minute, I decided to use a different recipe to what I would usually use & so far, I think the new one is better.
You can find it

{This is what a professional one should look like}
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What I like about this recipe is that it is all done in the food processor.

This is the recipe that I used to use.
You can find it

{now get ready for an ooooh & ahhhh moment}

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Here is some photo’s of the chickadees beach shack in the making.

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Georgia was the camera lady & wanted me to show you all her photo’s of the lollies.

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This is what last years beach shack looked like.

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Making gingerbread houses is so much fun & even though I am not feeling the best today, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It is a great family tradition & to see it sitting in the middle of the Christmas table, makes all the sticky fingers & sugar rushes, worth it.
If you make your own every year, you know what I mean.
If you are making your first one this year, I would love to see pictures! You can post them on the