Thursday, December 30, 2010

{12 days of Christmas : Day 11} Christmas Wrapping

Well, I mentioned in my last post that I had missed a day due to some family issues going on in our house. I had the photos ready to share, so, better late than never right???

I had a BLAST wrapping gifts this year and here was my take on gift wrap for Christmas 2010.

I hope you have had a great Christmas and look forward to sharing some new and exciting projects for the blog in the new year.
Lauren x

Friday, December 24, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 12} Merry Christmas A!!!

Well, I missed yesterday's post. We have had a family member in hospital in the ICU ward and it has put a lot emotions into this season for us here!

So my last Christmas post I had wanted to share with you is a video of a song that makes me tear up every time I hear it.....It is so powerful and really hits a home run in explaining the incredible CHRISTmas story!
I hope you enjoy listening to this song and May God be very real to you this Christmas and shower your families with favour in 2011.
Lauren x

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 10} Fighting OVERindulgence with kids at Christmas

(from babble - who got idea from dandee)

I found this article retweeted on twitter yesterday. The breif description caught my eyes and then the photo was worth a 1000 words!!!! These days our children have access to so much and are (even if we try not to) spoiled rotten (especially on a global scale). But it is slightly cruel to cut down on all gifts to "teach them a lesson" but I love how this "MOM" did it.

Click on the 'dandee' link above to read more. LOVE this idea and so doing this next year! In our house though, I would likely add a 5th tag "others" and give them something like school books for a kid in India or a goat or something similar. I think that this puts the focus on giving not just receiving.

Lauren X

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 9} Christmas Chocolate Puddings

Tonight I hosted a Christmas party for some very close friends. I kinda made up a dessert and adapted an iconic mini pudding my Mum has made for years. I wasn't sure if it would work, but it was an ABSOLUTE winner!!! The best thing was it was quick, cheap, easy and NO OVEN required!

Choc Puddings (serves 10)
2 store bought chocolate mud cakes (i did it this way to save on time, but you can bake these of course)
1/3 jar of brandy essence
(or real brandy if needed)
1 packet of white choc melts
1 packet of red glace cherries


1. The mudcakes I had bought already had icing on it. So I had to slice it in half and then slice the icing off.
2. Put the cake (icing free) into a large bowl and pour brandy essence (or brandy) on top. Use hands to crumble cake up and then shape the cakes into small tennis ball size balls on a tray with baking paper.
3. Melt the choc melts in double boiler. and drizzle over the top of the 'cake/ pudding balls'.
4. Whilst the chocolate is still wet, place a red cherry on the top and then refridgerate.

You could also do this in the mini version as an edible gift for people and I am sure they would go down a treat. Come to think of it, I might just do that with the extra's I bought for tonight!

Lauren X

Monday, December 20, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 8} Taste Goes Mobile

Well, I am always a massive fan of 's recipes and loved their first Winter recipe app for iphones. Recently they released the new Christmas App and it's a great little tool to have with you on the go. I recently planned to make something but got to the shops and they were out of the main ingredient. Having to change my mind on the go was SO easy cause I just opened this up and it was right in front of me. It has a great range of treats, festive drinks, desserts, mains, sides, salads etc.... The team have (yet again) hit a home run by making it so simple to use. Well done team taste :)

Lauren x

Sunday, December 19, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas::: Day 7} Kids Craft Ideas

Well there is one week to go. Kids are on holidays. Want to get festive and keep them occupied at the same time???? Here are some great ideas for some craft activities (Via Martha Stewart) that you can do together. Definitley some of these will be activities to do in the next few days :)

Lauren X

(click on image for link to more info)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 6} Egg-Nog Recipe

Well, whilst your having various celebrations, what better way to add a festive touch is by serving some traditional egg nog. I love the chilled version which suits our summer christmas climate here in Australia I think. Here is a website that has various recipes for egg nog whether you want low fat or indulgent. Would love to hear feedback if you try any of them.

Lauren X

Friday, December 17, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 5 - Advent Calendars}

Well, Almost ever family home has something like this in some form or another. The advent calendar forms the important role (particularly for kids) of the countdown. I am going to embark on making one for next year and I am looking for inspiration. Here are a few ideas I came up with. If you have one, I'd love to see what you came up with :)

Lauren x

Martha Stewart

Thursday, December 16, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 4} Baileys Fudge

(recipe via

Two years ago, I made this Baileys fudge and they were VERY popular!!! I have had requests for it again. Once the fudge set, I used a small (bite-sized) star shaped cookie cutter to cut out and arranged on a plate in a pyramid/ chritmas tree shape. This makes a wonderful gift and anyone would love to unwrap these.


Melted butter, to grease
1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
100g butter, cubed
255g (1 1/4 cups) brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tbs glucose syrup
150g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
60ml (1/4 cup) Baileys Original Irish Cream liqueur


  1. Brush a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line base and 2 opposite sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang.

  2. Combine the condensed milk, butter, sugar and glucose syrup in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, for 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens, turns a caramel colour and leaves the side of pan. Remove from heat.

  3. Add the chocolate and liqueur, and stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Set aside for 1 hour to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm.

  4. Remove fudge from pan, using the paper to help lift the fudge. Use a sharp knife to cut fudge into 16 equal portions.

Lauren x

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 3} Gift Wrapping

Well, at christmas time there are so many gifts going from hosue to hosue and person to person, I thought it would be cool to dedicate a post to the wrapping process. Personally I love spending some extra time thinking of cool ways to wrap presents and the idea of re-using stuff from around the house and recyling it is even more of a fun chalenge.

Think 'outside the box' (pun not intended lol) and try incorporating some of these ideas into your wrapping this year to make it different and fun. Fabric scraps, herbs, pinecones, flowers, lace and ribbon off cuts, buttons, old costume jewellery, newspaper, brown paper, twine, leaves, old or odd christmas baubles, inks, paints, stamps, paper scraps etc.....

I also found some tips on wrapping gifts. Sometimes it can seem a little daunting to some people, so I wanted to post a few tips that might help take the stress out of it. Personally though, I love wrapping and would have a whole room dedicated to it if I could (thats in my DREAM house lol). Get creative and I would love to hear your ideas too. In the mean time, here is some eye candy for inspiration :)

Lauren x

Monday, December 13, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 2} Vintage Christmas Tree Craft and Book Wreath}

Vintage Christmas Tree Craft
Today is a craft I wanted to share that I found over at "The Country Chic Cottage". I am just
loving this idea how she has recycled by turning old sewing patterns (which you may have lying around or can find at an Op Shop for next to nothing) into a gorgeous looking decoration. I love this idea, and she even recycled the foam she used for the core from styrofoam she found 'in the attic y'all' hahaha ;)

Book Wreath
I just loved this blog when I found it - her motto? "Creating a beautiful home, one glue gun burn at a time". I then found an idea very similar to the tree above, but so beautiful. As she says, Librarians and booklovers please avert your eyes hahaha.

What a beautiful and cheap way to create something so gorgeous! Hop over ans visit her to see more details.


Lauren x

Sunday, December 12, 2010

{12 Days of Christmas ::: Day 1} Almond& Rosewater Shortbread and a Guava Mocktail

Well, I have had a hectic few weeks in my little world. Not much crafting or cooking or anything like that as I have finally settled into our new house. I love the kitchen and it is such a feature, will have to share a pic soon.

But now that I have found my power cord to my lap top, I am now free to start sharing some festive inspiration as we all approach my favourite time of year - the very busy season of Christmas.
We have 12 days till Christmas so, here is DAY ONE. I thought I would share 2 yummy festive treats for my first post back after the move. The first of these treats is what I Christened my new oven and my new Kitchen Aid with and it is simple and delicious ;)
Almond and Rosewater Shortbread I loved this (and so did my girlfriends I had over for a craft night recently). I also had all ingredients except for the rice flour on hand in the pantry, so adding that to my shopping list for $1.30 meant this was very economical. I doubled the batch it was so delcious. This would also make a wonderful gift for school teachers, just bag or box up nicley and done!

Oil spray to grease tray or baking paper
180g soft butter

125g (3/4 cup) icing sugar mixture, sifted

1 x 100g pkt almond meal

115g (3/4 cup) plain flour

45g (1/4 cup) white rice flour

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tbs rosewater essence
About 3/4 cup icing sugar mixture, extra, to dust
(i didn't need that much, but use how much you like here).

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

  2. Spay 2 baking trays with oil to lightly grease or lay with baking paper.

  3. Use an electric beater to beat together the butter and icing sugar mixture in a bowl until pale and creamy.

  4. Add the almond meal and sift over the flours and ground cloves. Stir until well combined.

  5. Use your hands to roll heaped tablespoonsful of mixture into 8cm long logs. Roll them into a ball first and then roll the logs so the ends are nice and rounded. Shape into crescents and place on prepared trays. THe mixture does spread so make sure to leave a few cm between them. I did try a few different designs (hearts, logs and crescents) but the mixture doesn't hold shape very well do do hearts, but the logs and crescents worked well.

  6. Bake in preheated oven, for 20 minutes or until cooked through and light golden. Remove from oven.

  7. Lightly brush shortbreads with rosewater essence and set aside on trays for 30 minutes to cool and firm.

  8. Dust shortbreads with extra icing sugar.

  9. Set aside for a further 30 minutes or until completely cool.

Guava, passionfruit and lime mocktail
I love this drink, as you can have all ingredients on hand and they last for a while in pantry which means you can shop ahead of time for this one too. It's a delcious and festive drink that adds something special.For an extra nice touch, pre-chill champagne or martini glasses in the fridge and serve in them as your guests arrive :)

Fresh limes cut into small wedges
1 tin of passionfruit (or fresh if in season)
1 bottle of Guava nectar
1 bottle of soda water
Strawberries and mint leaves to serve (if desired)

1. Put ice cubes into glass
2. Squeeze lime wedge into glass and put the whole wedge into the glass

3. Put a teaspoon of passionfuit pulp in glass
4. Pour Guava nectar into glass till about 1/3 full

5. Top up with soda water

6. Push a fresh strawberry onto side of glass to garnish if desired.
7. If you want a minty touch to it, just rip a mint leave in half (to realease aroma) and place in glass.

Lauren x

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Handmade 'Bunny' Baby Gifts

So, I have been quiet on the crafty posts of late, because the last few months I have been perfecting 36 french knots, 36 satin stitches, over 11m of hand done lader stitching, a similar amount of running stictch and a bit of machine work for good measure. Creating what you ask? One of the first sewing projects I have ever done, and I dare say it'll remain a favourite for sometime, even though it's not for me to enjoy ;)

Two dear friends are expecting babies in November/ December 2010 and so i set about to find a gift that was handmade and something different. I decided on a large muslin wrap with embeded applique that was shadow stitched by hand. As soon as I started this project, I fell in love with the bunny motive and the fabric, that I ended up adding an appliqued onsie and a glamorous and stylish 'chuck rag' to match. So, everything you see here, I did two of. I may be mad, but these two friends are very special and deserve the effort ;)

Steps to make the Wrap:
1. Cut two muslin pieces to size. You can make it any size you wish ( I opted for a much larger wrap than usual as most babies outgrow a 'newborn' size quite quickly).
2. trim off the salvage.
3. Pin together and using an ordinary bread and butter plate, use your water erasable pen to trace a rounded edge (don't cut off yet, leave untill the bias is sewn on).
4. Choose your applique shapes (I chose bunnies). Trace the shapes you need onto Applique wonder or vliesofix. Then cut out roughly, it doesn't have to be precise.
5. Iron onto the fabric (rough side of the vliesofix to the wrong side of the fabric).
6. Cut out the applique shapes on the line this time.
7. Peel the paper off the back of the shape and iron the fabric (right side up) to the muslin. For my design I placed two bunnies on the centre of each side (see picture) which used 8 bunnies per wrap (and an extra for the onsie).
8. Tack around the border of the WHOLE WRAP with a contrasting colour (i chose red) and make sure to also go around the two bunnies too (very rough running stitch to stop muslin from moving/ shifting during the proper stitching process....painful, but you'll regret it if you don't) .
9. Shadow Stitching: Now get some embroidery thread and running stitch around reach bunny. I used a goldy colour for the body and white for the tail. This is tricky as you need to see the outline of the applique to know where to stitch. To make this easier, I draped the muslin over a clothes horse and put a lamp underneath, made it very easy to spot the line I was sewing on.
10. Using a water or air erasable pen ( I preferred the later for this) draw on the facial features and for the bunny this meant 2 dots for the eyes a triangle shape for the satin stitch and a few dashes for the whiskers.
11. Do french knots for the eyes, a satin stitch for the nose and normal running stitch for the whiskers (of course, your stitches will vary if you choose a different applique motive).
12. This step is hard to describe in writing but i'll try my best. Now, grap 5m of satin bias tape and sew the inside crease along the border of the wrap and go along the rounded edges you marked with your blue water erasable texta. Once all of it is sewn together (you'll have to sew the ends of the tape together before attaching to the wrap too).
13. Then feel free to trim some of the corners of the muslin off.
14. Then using a normal white cotton thread, ladder stitch (so it's invisible and hidden inside the bias tape) the bias tape over the hem to finish it off.
15. Cut and remove the tacking thread.
16. Fold into a laundry bag and wash on a delicate cycle and then lay flat to dry. Iron if needed before wrapping up.

Steps for Onesie:
1. Cut out applique shape (as above) and iron onto the little junpsuit.
2. Hand stitch around the shape using same shapes on the wrap for the border and facial features.

Steps for 'Chuck Rag' (need a better name for this lol)
1. Cut out a rectangle from the fabric you used for the applique on your wrap and onesie. Can be any size as long as it's long enough to put over your shoulder).
2. Cut out same size rectangle from chenille (I chose white).
3. Iron.
4. Place right side together and machine stitch around the border leaving a gap on one side to turn inside out.
5. Turn inside out.
6. Machine stitch a little straight line, very close to the edge, along the gap to enclose it (i used my air erasable pen to mark where the gap was and save guessing).
7. Using your pen again, draw a rectangle that is about an inch smaller than the border.
8. Switch to a decorative stitch and follow the line, just to finish it off.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial on some little projects that despite the many hours taken to create, were an absolute pleasure to make and a labour of love for two very dear friends of mine.
I am so glad I took the plunge to learn to sew this year, and I have loved learning many new stitches and techniques, especially in my sewing group with many combined years of experience!

Lauren x


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