Monday, October 3, 2011

Girls Night In 2011

The total raised is $1094!!!

Yesterday saw my annual Girls Night In afternoon tea. The Girls Night In is a fundraiser for the Cancer Council. The funds raised go towards Cancer Council's ground breaking research, prevention and support strategies for ALL women's cancers. It is also about raising awareness for gynaecological cancers that sometimes get overlooked.

I have been holding an afternoon tea for the last few years (maybe five!) and I enjoy putting the afternoon together. This year promised a bumper turnout and I was hoping to beat our $600 donation total from the previous two years.

Our total so far, from online donations and raffles, is $803, with a few more pledged donations!

I had originally planned to hold it outside, but the numbers and threatened thunderstorm (I am still waiting) meant that I elected to hold everything indoors.

Mum and my sister E kindly leant me all the bits and bobs that I needed to cater for the numbers, including chairs and drink dispenser from E, and cake forks and teacups from MotherC.

A HUGE thank you to all who came and ate and also to those who were not able to make it and still donated.

This year C's cousin JR kindly donated a pamper pack of Sebastian hair products and we ran a raffle on the day. She put together a basket of some fabulous styling products and I am sure that the winner KL will be looking super extra gorgeous in future.

The menu this year was varied. Kind thanks to all who helped with the catering.
We had pink macarons and white macarons (BakingN), coconut macaroons (BakingN), carrot cake (MotherH), chocolate cake (MrsP), a selection of sandwiches (MotherC), fruit tarts (BakingN again!), fairy pikelets (KL) alongside my vanilla cupcakes, gingerbread, chai cupcakes, chocolate cake and apple and cheese tart. BakingN did a lovely job of making the beautiful pink flowers adorning my chocolate cake, as well as the pink lilies and assorted flowers on the buffet.

I also forgot to serve Mum's spinach and ricotta rolls... although maybe I forgot on purpose so that I could keep them for myself!

My sister E did a fabulous job of styling the tables and ensuring that the teapots were primed and ready to go.

Thank you to EB for being a superstar collector of donations and writer of receipts.

The Girls Night In would not be the fabulous day that it is without the support of so many wonderful friends and family. Thank you!

You can check out my fundraising page or have a look at the photos from last year.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

BUILD: The skeleton of a kitchen

It feels that the end is in sight for the completion of our house build! This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and shows our new kitchen - sans appliances and overhead cupboards. The benchtops were also missing in this photo, with templates in their place.

The benchtops were installed last week... well, at least they managed to get the tops in for the bench under the windows - it was in two parts. The island bench is, apparently, 500kg and the installer could not get it into the house! They're going to come back again once the steps are built at the front of the house and hopefully they will be able to get it in place.

I am very excited about our new kitchen - and of course the whole house! There will be room for all of our kitchen items and shelves above the fridge for my cook books. I cannot wait.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Boldly going...

...where no legoman has gone before.

I thought this was so cute! The billion dollar spacecraft that has just been launched to probe Jupiter is not completely unmanned - it has a crew of lego men!!!

The probe is named Juno, after the Roman wife of Jupiter, and the lego figurines are Jupiter, Juno, and Galileo Galilei.

Read here for some more information.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Searching for the Sun

On a raining Friday lunchtime last May, C and Slice picked me up from the office and we headed north on our adventure. The goal was Exmouth, although starting at 1245 on a Friday meant that we would stop overnight for a sleep and continue in the morning.

As we headed out of Perth we left the rain behind. We travelled up the Indian Ocean Drive, so new that our GPS thought that we were travelling off road and kept trying to direct us in different directions! It was a fairly quiet track, and it was nice to catch the occasional glimpse of the ocean.

Travelling on the open road

Our bed for the night was at Nanna's house, 110km north of Geraldton and part of the Riverside Sanctuary. It was an old farmhouse, with enough rooms and beds for the seven of us and a piano as well for us to practice our hidden musical talents. The setting seemed very peaceful however since we arrived and left in darkness it was a bit hard to fully appreciate.

Saturday saw us complete the journey and head through Carnarvon to Exmouth. I had forgotten how peaceful the outback can be. There are miles and miles between stops and not too many people on the road. I was struck at how people could fall in love with it very easily and I would feel this way several times during our trip.
Carnarvon = bananas

Our final destination in Exmouth was the Osprey Holiday Village, where we separated into two self contained villas. The villas had two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs, with kitchen and open plan living, plus a loft bedroom upstairs accessed by a squeaky spiral staircase. There was a second shower and toilet outside, and in our villa that was quickly nominated as the room for number twos!

The boys spent most of the days fishing, and I did a little bit of exploring. C and I headed to the Cape Range National Park for a day trip and snorkeled on the Ningaloo Reef. Mudcrabs were also involved along the way, as was eating fresh tuna sashimi and lots of fish!

Coral Bay


View from the Lighthouse

Bundegi beach

The view at Oyster Stacks

Yardie Creek Gorge

Shothole Canyon

Devouring mudcrabs!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Arial Bauhaus Courier

I finished my second teacup today. Cross stitch teacup that is.

The teacups have now been put to one side and I am embarking on a lovely alphabet sampler. I purchased a pattern from Fox & Feathers for a sampler with each letter in a different font! E helped me to pick out some lovely threads and I am looking forward to it taking shape, one letter at a time.

For some inspiration and advice on cross stitch I referred to this tutorial. I shall take heed of the notes and start as close to the middle as I can manage.

Now I just have to figure out how to keep my spare threads from getting tangled...


Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Princess Bride

In order to combat the lousy day time offerings I have dug into my DVD collection. To be honest I do not have overly many DVDs, and what I do have is mostly Doctor Who box sets! Hee hee.

One awesome movie that I do own is The Princess Bride. I remember first watching it when I was in primary school and being surprised and pleased by the story. It has become a favourite and it never fails to bring a smile to my face when I watch it.

It is so witty! Funny! Clever! Such a simple story that has been well crafted and brought together for a great romp.

My favourite line is that of Mandy Patinkin's character. "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Yup, simple and straight to the point.

Do you have a favourite line? What might that be?


Friday, July 15, 2011

An Inuk Snood

E and I headed to Made on the Left last Sunday. I nearly didn't make it - my cold was making me extra grumpy - but I really wanted to go and check out the new venue at one40 william. It was a pretty cool space - all exposed ducting and walls and concrete. There were a fair few people there and I think that the market was larger than normal.

E and I were a bit shopped out after our efforts at the Upmarket and we contented ourselves with a single purchase each. E bought a baby rattle from Anna Hadwin and I bought myself a sage green SNOOD from Inuk Designs. It is made of organic cotton and is very soft and comfortable. I even wore it to work on Monday ... the one day that I made it into the office this week.

When you have a cold it is very important to keep your neck warm.


Honey and lemon

I have had a cold since last week and am feeling sorry for myself! I have spent the last four days at home watching bad day time television. Sixteen channels of nothing! Even ABC News24 repeats itself after a while. Thank goodness for Poirot and Midsomer Murders. Woo.

Today I forced myself to leave the house in search of honey, as I had managed to drink all that we had. There is no shortage of lemons here thank goodness as there are still several hanging off the tree outside. I was disappointed to find that our regular store had sold out of honey, and the closest supermarket only had the supermarket brand and some other dodgy honey. Luckily the IGA that I drove to had a large selection and I also picked up some cappucino ice cream while I was there.

I love my lemon and honey drink when I have a cold. It is so simple - fresh lemon juice, honey and boiling water. C was nice enough to juice several lemons for me this time around, so that I had a jug of juice ready to go.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trialling cupcakes

Today I made the cupcake recipe that BakingN and I received from the cupcake class last Wednesday. I restricted myself to making two flavours, vanilla and chai.

I am looking forward to tasting one tomorrow. Hopefully I have been able to do the recipe justic!

Instead of piping a soft serve icecream style of icing as we were shown on Wednesday, I attempted to replicate the rose as seen in this educational video. I am definitely in need of more practice.

Bathroom messiness

Our second bathroom is in the process of being renovated. It has been a slow process, but the tiler finally came and started to make it look normal again.

It is a work in progress, and I will post some before and after photos once it has been completed.

Once we are finished we will have replaced everything except the bathtub and the window!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Queen of hearts at Koko Black

After our exhausting shopping efforts at the Upmarket last Sunday, E and I went in search of sustenance! E suggested that we try Koko Black in Claremont**, and I thought that sounded like a splendid idea! Koko Black is recently opened here in Perth, in the brand new Claremont Quarter building.

It was lunchtime and I was a little unsure as to whether we would be able to find anything savoury at a chocolate salon! They luckily had a couple of sandwiches on the menu and we combined those with a Queen of Hearts high tea.

E went for a chocolate chai. It needed to be strained and was so thick that she could not pass it through the strainer! I was concerned about a sugar overload and stayed conservative with a pot of English Breakfast Tea.

Our stack of loveliness included roasted vegetable sandwiches, mini tomato tart and leek tart, and a selection of sweet bites. My favourite was the creme brulee. Nice top that you cracked through to get to the runny vanilla centre. Bliss!

The Queen of Hearts was $37 for two people, including the drinks. We were very impressed with the spread and I thought it was great value for money. We may just have to hang out in Claremont more frequently...

** E and I were debating whether or not Claremont was a "Tourism Precinct". The majority of the shops, including Coles, were closed and so we concluded that it was not. Over here in Perth we have regulated shopping hours, and Coles and Woolies are not allowed to open on Sundays and late nights (except Thursdays). Last year our government introduced "Tourism Precincts" to certain suburbs in an attempt to slowly dissolve those regulations. It has been a slow process.

A cupcake class

On Wednesday night BakingN and I made our way to The Home Provedore in Fremantle to take part in their Cupcake Class! We were not sure what exactly to expect. We have made the odd cupcake or two before but thought that it would be fun to see another perspective.

The class was fairly simple and we watched as chef Brittany talked us through her Vanilla Cupcake recipe. Once the batter was made, she split it into four and showed us how she changed the flavours by adding different ingredients. The flavours were vanilla, coconut & lime, pear & white chocolate and chai. I was impressed by the chai flavoured cupcakes, and next time I go to a supermarket I am going to look for the chai powder. Brittany was happy to answer any and all questions that we asked about cupcakes and baking in general.

Whilst the cupcakes were baking Brittany showed us how to make buttercream icing and demonstrated some basics with the piping bags. It was then our turn to swirl small blobs of icing and try and master the technique.

The cupcakes that we tried were luscious and moist and it was difficult to remember to leave enough for the rest of the class to try. Yum!

For more detail on our evening click here.

The (pleasant) surprise for me was that we all got to take four cupcakes home, one of each flavour. They had been previously baked and hidden from in boxes at the back of the room. Brittany had piped icing on two of them and we got to practice our skills again on our own cakes. No prizes for guessing what two cakes have my piping efforts on the top!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Upmarket haul!

E and I made it to the Perth Upmarket this weekend. We had both skipped the last market so made sure that we were free for the June extravaganza. We enjoyed ourselves and there were some many pretty things to see and buy and exclaim over. Partway through the market we had to stop spending as we had run out of cash.

The photos shows my haul from the day, and amongst the goodies are cards and wrapping paper from Huckleberry Hill, chocolate coated orange segments from Whistler's Chocolates, gorgeous organic cotton blankie and onesie from inuk designs, organic cotton tea towel with instructional message by Tex & Joe, and fabric pack form Old Grey House.

We also played a small part in supporting the food stalls and sampled chocolate macarons from Rochelle Adonis, chai latte from Chai Baba and a coffee.

Making use of our limes

C came home from work on Saturday and asked if I would make a lime tart for him to share with his workmates. There was nothing on television so I was happy to get creative in the kitchen! He gave me a hand making the pastry and the curd, then went to bed and left it to me to roll and blind bake the pastry!

We have many limes, although they are starting to run low, and struggle to come up with creative ways to use them. So far it is all curries, corona and tarts!

You can find the tart recipe here.

Vintage Gibbons!

I am not entirely sure why I was thinking about the books of Stella Gibbons, but I decided to see if they had released any more of her novels. I did a quick internet search and was delighted to learn that there are several novels soon to be published by Vintage Classics!

I stumbled across Cold Comfort Farmwhen I was at uni. Penguin released a stack of classics that sold for $5 and I bought as many as I thought I could afford. Not all of them caught my fancy and I still have a few that I have not read! Cold Comfort Farm was one of those that I have read and re-read. I re-visited it a few years ago and was happy to find Nightingale Wood on a trip to Melbourne. After I devoured that book I searched for more Gibbons but sadly that was it for new prints at the time.

On Friday after work I popped into the New Edition Bookshop in Northbridge and enquired about the books. They have taken my details and will let me know when they arrive! I was told that there are 14 of her books to be published and I am looking forward to reading something new.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

A cross tea

A fair while ago I felt the urge to learn how to cross stitch. The best design that I could find at the local sewing warehouse was a sampler of teacups! I started it and gave up for a stretch after getting frustrated, of all things, by not being able to distinguish the three different thread colours V LT Mocha brown, Ultra V LT Mocha Brown and sometimes Winter White. The thread came all bunched together and I struggled to differentiate.

One teacup down, three to go!

I have no idea what I will do when I have finished it. If anyone has suggestions then please let me know.

Fabrics and table linen

In burst of enthusiasm I ordered some fabrics and table linen last night. The fabrics were from Ink & Spindle and the napkins from Thea & Sami. I thought that the fish were extremely appropriate as C is a keen fisherman.

Ink & Spindle have many lovely designs however at the moment they are experiencing a supply issue and the available designs are limited. I am still looking for inspiration for the fabric for my footstool, and I am thinking that I will grab the blue version of this Kangaroo Paw print once it is back in stock. They make use of organic base fabrics and environmentally friendly, solvent free inks.

Thea & Sami also use organic fabrics and print with water-based, solvent free inks. I thought that their fish motif was very cute, and E gave it the thumbs up.

1, 2

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Trying to inspire myself

On my wander up William Street in Northbridge last night I eventually made it to William Topp. They have a lovely collection of pretty items, including many Australian designed and made pieces. I was intrigued to find amongst the shelves a couple of glass Sunbeam Mix Master bowls similar to the one that I have! I now know where to go if I (or C) ever break my small mixing bowl.

The book Vintage Fabric Accessories caught my eye. It is a lovely collection of patterns for girly accessories like clasp purses, card wallets and bags. The book has gorgeous photos of different versions of the items in many fabrics as well as some great photos to illustrate step by step the process of following the patterns.

I have added it to my slowly growing collection of crafty stuff and hope that I will be inspired enough to make use of it soon. It has inspired me to purchase some fabrics and I just ordered some more from Ink & Spindle!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Miss Kylie Minogue

Last Wednesday E and I braved the Burswood crowds to take in the music and theatre of Kylie Minogue. It was a very well coordinated extravaganza and there was much to be amazed by.

Kylie made several costume changes throughout the show, and it appeared that she had a gold bodysuit that was the basis of all of her costumes. E informed me that Dolce & Gabanna had designed the costumes and they certainly spoke of catwalk styling!

The staging was fairly complex and there was a horseshoe section that enabled Kylie and her entourage to approach closer to the croud. There was a section within the horseshoe where the most devoted fans were. I was intrigued by the sections of the stage that rotated and lifted! Amazing. Kylie stood in the centre of the circle and was lifted up whilst her dancers were strapped to the circle as it rotated and tilted towards vertical.

We were disappointed to hear that the support band, Gypsy and the Cat, had not made it to Perth due to the inimical ash cloud that has been disrupting our air space over the last few weeks. The DJ that came on before Kylie was possibly not the best substitute and E commented that he looked like a geriatric man with a laptop rather than a cutting edge music mixer.

As we lined up to enter we were pleased to notice that we were by no means the oldest fans at the concert.

Kylie impresses me with her longevity in the industry and her agility to stay contemporary. The set list was a mix of old and new and we sang along whenever we knew the words! We heard a rock-y version of "Can't Get You Out of My Head" and grooved along to "The Loco-motion". I had seen Kylie perform when she was last in Perth in Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour. During that concert she had seemed very tired and was not particularly active on the stage. It was great to see on the Aphrodite Tour that she looked healthy and energetic. I was surprised to realise that it has been five years since I went to that concert! How time flies when you are having fun.

For another opinion you can read this review.

The most unusual event during the concert was unscripted, and generate a fair amount of publicity after the show. Kylie brought a couple up on the stage with her from the $400 "splashzone", and the chicken lifesaver man promptly got down on one knee to propose to his partner of nine years. The way that the laws are moving in this country they may see another nine years go past without any legal means to go beyond the engaged state.

E wanted me to take a photo of the performers as it looked like they were not wearing any underwear.

A tiny milk jug

I bought a second hand milk jug yesterday. Not for any particular reason, I just felt like it. The restaurant at the bottom of the building where I work is closing down and selling out all of their stock.

I feel guilty for not supporting them more than I have, although they are more of a fine dining restaurant rather than a cheap and cheerful lunch bar!

My patronage however would not have assisted in their decision to stay in business, as apparently the landlord wanted to increase the rent by half again and they chose to shut down rather than pay the rent raise.

At any rate I have a new little jug that I can use with my teapot - at least until I find myself a blue one! It sits in size between the cute jug that my sister E gave me and the generic jug I use when I have company.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

An afternoon in Maylands

E and I headed out today to check out a new lunch venue and shops! We made our way to Maylands and Sherbert Cafe and Bake Shop. We also planned to visit a shop we had just heard of called Out on a Limb. The store states that their "ethos is to sell predominantly australian and new zealand made eco friendly sustainable products and to support local artisan talents to create an interesting mix of gifts and homewares". Awesome! E and I found many beautiful items to admire while we were there. I came away with a stack of Blueberry Paper cards. There were so many lovely designs to choose from and so I grabbed a handful!
(I cannot find a website for the store but they do have a facebook page.)

Our tummies were rumbling by then and we headed into the Sherbert Cafe. Lunch was lovely and we finished off the meal with an enormous piece of Red Velvet Cake. Even though we were sharing we failed to finish the piece as it was so large and rich! The cake had a lovely texture and there were so many tasty looking treats that we will have to go back to try some more.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate cake and lashings of tea

A long weekend is always a good excuse for a lazy afternoon, and I invited some girlfriends around for a slice (or two!) of chocolate cake.

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake made another appearance. It is such a simple cake - measure all of the ingredients into a food processor and mix! Then bake. I also thought it would be a good time to christen the friand pan that M gave me as a birthday gift and make my first ever friands! A simple recipe for lime friands meant that I could make use of the abundance of limes on our tree.

It is so lovely to catch up with my girlfriends, and share news and stories. M brought her daughter LittleK, who appreciated the chocolate icing on the cake! Of the five of us who were around the table, three of us at various stages of housebuild and we caught up on the progress and shared ideas. N is learning the finer arts of cake decorating and she is always full of interesting and useful hints for improving your baking.

Photos of my baking efforts:
Chocolate cake
Lime friands

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WWotW: Principle vs Principal

I was a little confused today. Actually it does not usually take that much to confuse me. I was handed the business card of a colleague that identified him as a "Principle", rather than a "Principal". It confused me enough that I referred myself to the dictionary to confirm my understanding of both words!

principle noun a basic idea or rule that explains or controls how something happens or works =

principal adjective first in order of importance =

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cake success

Apparently my version of Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake was well received by C's workmates... apart from the guy who said that it was not fluffy enough. I think he was expecting a sponge. At any rate he's not getting any next time! Hee hee.

C saved some for me, and we finished it off tonight. The cake was reasonably dense, to be expected when you make a cake with wet ingredient of sour cream and only two eggs! The icing I found a little bit too sweet - the golden syrup - however it was nice and chocolate flavoured. I would make it again.


No photos, it all was eaten too quickly.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Our version of this yummy looking cake is currently cooling on our kitchen bench. Hopefully we can make it look as tasty as Nigella has!

Image and recipe here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Squeaks and squawks

Tonight I had the urge to pull out my clarinet and play some Mozart! It has been a while since I entertained myself in this way, and I learnt that it had been too long for me to do more than make some rather unattractive squawks.

I backed off from the Mozart and scaled down my expectations to some simple scales. In the lower register.

Playing music is one way to relax and I shall endeavour to spend some time to reduce my squeaking and improve my tone!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Liquorice love

I am very much a liquorice allsorts fan, and when this image popped into my inbox it made me think "yum".

Okay so it is soap, and not too edible, but still makes feel like eating liquorice allsorts! Yum.

I think that tomorrow at lunch time I might have to go for a wander into the city in search of a packet or two...!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My poor cake

I made a banana and walnut cake the other weekend. Unfortunately my kitchenhand was a bit too enthusiastic in trying to get the cake out of the tin, and we ended up with a pile of crumbs! The cake still tastes great, you just need a spoon or fork to eat it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hanging out with friends on the foreshore

It feels like an age since I caught up with some of my friends and so it was lovely to head to the Swan River foreshore this morning for a casual catchup! We kept it casual this time, and asked everyone to bring their own stuff. It is probably best that we did as half of the people who had said that they were coming pulled out this morning!

Most of my friends have children now and there are a couple of playgrounds where we met. It was a beautiful morning, and there were many family groups out and about enjoying the sunshine and the play equipment.

If the weather continues to hold then it would be great to try and do something like this regularly. I am not sure what my contingency would be if the weather turns foul.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Progress

Today I made a small effort to get started on one of my Goals for 2011. I previously had plans to knock three of the nine off my list. Two days into the five day weekend and I think that I will struggle to achieve the three I had set out to cross off!

I bought a couple of skirt patterns, and the fabric to make one of them. As you can see from the picture it is a fairly simple style but hopefully it will give me a good start in how to make and shape an item of clothing! It has been many years now since I foolowed a pattern and made myself something to wear.

The plan for tomorrow is to cut out the pattern, mark and cut the fabric and tack it together. I think that I will start with the lining fabric just to make sure that it fits me! Stitching it up for real will mean a visit to Mum and Dad to use Mum's machine.

I have plans too, if the skirt is successful then I would like to try and add some pockets to the next version.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Doctor Who sad news

The ABC has reported that Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who, has passed away.

I am a little young to remember her from the original run of the series, but as a youngster I taped and repeatedly watched The Five Doctors special, made when Peter Davison was the Doctor. Sarah Jane figured quite prominently in that episode. She was the foil to Jon Pertwee's doctor, and rather fiesty.

Sarah Jane made a return to the rebooted Doctor Who with David Tennant's doctor. It was a blast to the past and a lovely tie in for all of us nerds who remembered her from the classic series.

May she rest in peace.


Friday, April 15, 2011

LED Downlights

One aspect of our build that we had to think about early on was the lighting. We have two rooms and a passageway that are located under the first floor concrete slab and all lights had to be planned before construction.

C is the one who did his homework, and selected this LED downlight. I prefer a warm white to a cool light and the fascia will be silver for further impact.

This fitting claims to provide the equivalent light to a 50W halogen downlight for the cost of only 16W of power. Not a bad trade off! Also these lights are considerably more efficient than the halogens so we should use a lot less power and produce less heat. They also promise to be dimmable, so we should have the same control over our new lights as over our existing halogens.