Monday, 12 December 2011

Rain and Resin

Bonjour everybody!
Today it has been truly horrible weather. The kind that means you never want to leave your bed, or makes you long to be in front of a fire, or go to Fiji or something. This is odd for December, but I think that despite the fact that it has been a rather wet day we shouldn't let the weather get us down. Here is a lovely flower plant thingy to cheer everyone up.

Now, as is expected on rainy days, much eating is to be done. To get everyone into the right frame of mind I have some photos from a pasta date I had with a friend last week. She had bought me this amazingly beautiful coloured pasta and sauce for my birthday and so I invited her around so that we could both enjoy it's magnificence.

YUM! It was honestly the coolest meal I have ever eaten in my life! Except for maybe the time me and a friend made pacman pudding out of a lemon and a bag of icing sugar..... But then again that probably couldn't be classified as a 'meal' as such. Anyway, while we are on the topic of food (as I always seem to be) I have a life saving piece of information for you all! Now, I think that it is a widely known fact that a large percentage of the population relies on Betty Crocker's ready mixed mixes when it comes to baking. BUT! Fret no more, because I have for you the easiest, most mouth wateringly tasty vanilla cake recipe ever. And..... photos! I used it to make a cake for my friend's birthday yesterday and it was mixed and whisked and in the oven in no time at all!

Tasty Vanilla Cake Recipe  - unknown source

-1 Cup of Sugar
-100g butter
-2 eggs (free range are the best!)
-2 tsp vanilla essence
-1,1/2 cups all purpose flour
-1, 3/4 tsp baking powder
-1/2 cup milk

1.Preheat oven to 170'C (350'F) and grease a 9x9 inch cake tin. NOTE: this recipe can be used as muffins or cupcakes too! Obviously though the cake tin is substituted here for a muffin tray...
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla essence.
3. Using a sieve add the butter and baking powder together and mix well. Finally stir in the milk and stir until you have a smooth mixture.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or for cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Cake is ready when it springs back when touched. Leave to cool on a tray and then decorate to your heart's content!

Ta-da! A cake! 
Today me and mum had a bit of a play around with some resin jewellry stuff which we ordered off trademe, and so far they appear to be a success. It is so rewarding being able to make your own stuff to wear and the options are infinite! This time around it was dried rose buds and buttons for me, with lace and fabric from the vast ever exciting fabric box, hopefully they turn out ok! I shall have to post pictures later on of the finished products as they are left overnight to dry.

They are so much fun to make, although my hands are still sticky from the process! The past few days I have been addicted to a song by a band called the Fleet Foxes. It is incredibly hard not to dance to it...

Oh and here are some clown faces I made out of polymer baking clay. I intend to turn them into earrings at some point in the near future.. 

That's it for now really, I hope you all enjoy lazing about and watching the rain, according to the weather forecast it's going to last a while! Oh and if you actually are in Fiji then please try not to get too sunburnt.
Cheerio x

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Break Time

Hello hello hello!
I have been the most lazy blogger ever and so I apologize profusely for my absence from the internet. You will all be delighted to hear that my party was a triumph darling, an absolute triumph! But unfortunately due to the stress and pressure of organizing an Oscar worthy Medieval Extravaganza (if they had Oscars for that sort of thing that is) I have had to spend the last few weeks lazing about like the sloth that I appear to be, and consuming vast amounts of chocolate and carbohydrates... However, good news is that I am back and I have lovely things to share with you. Now, as we all know, children can often be extraordinarily cute and caring and I am pleased to tell you that I am the neighbour to two such children, except... wait for it.... better! My mother has warned their mum (Kate - check her blog here-it's amazing, like her!) that I may actually kidnap Archie and Hugo  (the children in question) at some point in the near future. She has been warned. Anyway more to the point, on my birthday which seems like years ago now, they arrived unexpectedly at the door to my bedroom, having tackled forests and climbed mountains to reach it (they cut through the paddock basically) with arms of flowers, and in Hugo's case an actual plant 'so that I could plant it and it will never die'-too cute! The roses were wrapped lovingly in tin foil and handed to my by a shy Archie along with Hugo's card, a masterpiece of self portraits, collage and cut outs. These two never fail to brighten my day..

You will be happy to find out that I finished the book cover for my friend's birthday, he seemed to like it which is always a plus! I decorated the edging with red thread and slipped it onto the book with a message inside. You can see the hand painted print on the front - Florence and The Machine - in more detail in my previous post.

I have also been a busy bee making some earrings for another friend's birthday tomorrow. She is exceptionally stylish and fashionable so they needed a bit of thought, but I reckon they have a certain Aztec feel about them which I think she will like!

So that's it on the creative front really, hopefully this week will provide an opportunity for more arty endeavors, but for now here is some glittery tinsely stuff to get everyone into the Christmas spirit! 

Oh and of course a song (although it is anything but Christmasy) because music makes the world go round! -and gravity and the sun and moon and stuff but those aren't as fun to dance to.... This is one of my favourites of Florence's new album 'Ceremonials', although they are all so fantastic it is impossible to really pick a favourite as it is constantly changing! Anyway, enjoy!

I hope you all have a lovely evening!
Ciao x

Friday, 25 November 2011

Holiday Time!

Hi there people! Well it is now officially the holidays for me myself and I and...... I'm 17! Flip that is very old, well it seems that way to me anyway. Anyway, it is actually only JUST today, 1:00 am. Technically 3 hours until I am born (that makes it sound epic, like I am a time traveler or something..... but sadly - no.) So it is still yesterday for me. Why it is it that despite the fact that it will be an ordinarily ordinary day, I can never get to sleep the night before? I think this may be normal.... although i shall never know for sure. I just wanted to formally introduce you to my manny, he's pretty random and crazy and also slightly cute. Oh - and he has a beard! Here's Angus:

This morning he decided (in all of his 10 month old wisdom) that he would help me to do my hair and makeup. How lovely and thoughtful! However, him softing my mascara while I was trying to apply an even coat - while adorable - didn't really go down so well. 

This is a song that I have become quite fond of these past few days, I think I prefer the acoustic version but I am in love with the video of the original, which I suggest you check out. The song is 'Two Cousins' by a band called Slow Club. Very relaxing.... I think I will have to purchase the album to be honest. I haven't been getting up to much lately, my final exam was yesterday. As interesting as history is, the history examination itself is not what I would call the most stress-free experience. Still I am free now! Hazzah! I have been using my free time wisely, planning my party for next Thursday. The theme is medieval which I think is fun and a bit different. It is based around a few dinners that the family has had with the same theme and the party will involve an outdoor feast (if the weather is nice and behaved) and some medieval movies. I sent out the invites on Wednesday and now am set to be busy at work with preparation and decorating! Yay what fun! I love planning parties! here is a peek at the invites. I made a whole twenty and sent them off by post to friends. Really, I have just come to the conclusion that the time and effort put in was merely a procrastination to studying, but I am pleased with the result!

Hopefully a few more photos to come from the event itself! I have also been a busy bee making a cover for the visual diary I got a good friend for his birthday. This is to go alongside the painting and is a print style painted cover with Florence and the Machine and some text - he is a huge fan.

Unfortunately with this, and study and party planning and plenty of baking and eating (of course) I haven't had much time to work on my 100 squares project (see the top of the site for how I am going) but will try to update it with the squares I have been working on since last Wednesday. Let's just say I will have to pick up the pace if I want to have a blanket by Christmas! Anyway, I better be off to sleep now! I have a long day of being 17 ahead of me, so Bon Voyage and toodle pip my faithful followers, and a happy 26th of November to you all! x

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Good Music and Magnificent Meringues

Hello there.... finally!
A long silence over the weekend, but there hasn't been too much to report really! A trip up to Auckland for my cousin's very 1st birthday and a whole Monday spent in bed with a book, well... I enjoyed it! Not to mention these fantastic meringues and strawberries (oh and the ever important whipped cream in a can!)..

A song that I have not been able to stop listening to this week (obviously by the fabulous Florence Welch - aka Florence and the Machine! Who Else?!) It's a cover of 'I'm Going Down' and is sung with Kid Harpoon. Give it a look, it is well worth it!

Today was nice, finally had a chance to catch up with a friend I hadn't spoken to in weeks, over frappes which makes everything 5 billion times more exciting! I got a wee bit of painting done on a piece for a good friend of mine's birthday (which I hate to mention was months ago...) and now I am off to bake a cheesecake! Yummy Scrumboes! 
I find it a tad hilarious that the majority of my posts on this blog seem to revolve around food, but then again so does my brain to be completely honest! Not literally- that would be weird... Well I am obviously tired and slightly (HA!) insane, but some more time in bed can cure at least one of the two, so I will say adios amigos and also be careful, because as we all know... it's a jungle out there! x

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Lazy Days

Hello interweb!
I hope that everybody, plant, mammal, rock and other, has had as much of a splendid day as I have!What started as a rainy morning, as I dragged myself out of a far too comfortable bed and onto a hairbrush, soon got  better with the arrival of friend, neighbour and fellow art 'n craft enthusiast Kate. Out came the knitting bags, the kettle was boiled and ideas and patterns were exchanged as me, my beloved mother and Kate settled onto the big blue couch and had needles whizzing and wool flying in no time.

As the clock struck 12, knitting books had gathered in small mountains and wool was strewn into a vast multicoloured carpet across the living room, some had even found it's way to my wee kitty cat Angus, who was rejoicing at what he decided was a challenge. Watching Sophie Dahl's cooking show 'The Delicious Miss Dahl' had also inspired me to venture down to my room and find the book by the Grand-daughter of legendary children's writer Roald Dahl. It is a beautiful recipe book which I highly recommend, you can find it here; Flicking through the pictures of mouth watering soups and delightful cakes is enough to make anyone hungry.

Diving into my knitting bag, I found the beginnings of a blanket I had started a few months back. The very small beginnings. Thanks to school and other pressures I only managed to find 8 small squares, each about 10cm by 10cm. As I am a relatively normal sized person, it may need some work. So, as it is almost officially my holidays, I have decided to complete the blanket as part of what I have called 'The 100 Squares Project'. What's great about this? You, my avid followers, can join in! Well, sort of....... Check the top of my home page each day and you can see how I am getting along as I work away, a few squares a day (that rhymed tee hee) and hopefully I will have a completed blanket by Christmas! Wish me luck.... it will be needed.

It comes as no surprise that this stylish little guy, as one of the last three gingerbread people, faces a grim end this afternoon, as my colourful gang were wolfed down one by one since I made them yesterday. 
So, we shall say goodbye to 'Bow-tie Guy' and I shall say goodbye to you, wishing you all a lovely evening!
Toodle Pip x

Monday, 14 November 2011

Gingerbread People

A spot of baking today, and i know it is two posts in a day but this blogging thing is addictive! Anyway I had a go at gingerbread men, a first for me which is a bit embarrassing but i must say that it was a blast. Especially the decorating  where i am afraid to say that I went a bit crazy... It is a great recipe though and i urge you to give them a go!

Golden Gingerbread Recipe  - From 'The Complete Book of Gingerbread' By Valerie Barrett

You Will Need:
350g plain flour                                       100g butter
2 tsp ground ginger                                 175g soft brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon                                        4 Tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda                     1 egg - beaten

1. Sieve the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Rub in the butter with fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Stir in the sugar. In a saucepan, warm the syrup to make it runny.

3. Add the syrup and the beaten egg to the flour mixture; mix to a soft dough. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.

4. Knead the dough lightly until smooth.

5. Roll out as desired. If the dough is rolled out thinly, a crisp texture will be obtained. If rolled out thickly, a softer texture will result. Bake in a preheated oven at 190'C/375'F/Gas Mark 5 (Note: If a fan forced oven is used, bake at 180'C instead of 190'C) Most items take 8-10 minutes to cook, smaller items will be less, and larger items more.

Yummy Scrumboes!
Enjoy x

Let me introduce you to my friends!

Hello there! This is, for those who were not observant enough to notice, my first post. I'm not quite sure what it will be about just yet actually, so this could get interesting. It is a bit strange being out and about on the big wide web, and I'm not really talking about Facebook or Twitter or whatever. I would like to say that I can offer you my knowledge or teach you everything there is to know about the world, but then I wouldn't be telling the complete truth. I am not, as they say, a wise owl in the form of a spring chicken, I am merely a confused sparrow looking for something to sink my teeth into..actually, birds don't have teeth...but you get the metaphor I think. Anyway this is what i hope will be the home to many wonderful and interesting and strange and creative things. There isn't really a story behind the name either, it just sounded like the title of a nice place that people would want to go for a break, the little picture was done by yours truly and the owls are called Norah and Sylvia, for anyone who is particularly interested. I guess if you want to know more about me you can check out my 'ABOUT ME' section - pretty self explanatory really... I'm Diva anyway (my real name, yes) and for now here are a few pictures to keep everyone relatively entertained. Cheerio x