Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Colour & Draw

If you like the cute vintage how to draw tutorials, head on over to:
She has a tonne of free stuff!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recipe Organization, A Dull Necessity.

Yesterday I spent hours doing the dull job of organizing all of my loose recipes.
The magazine pages I had torn out.
The pages I had printed off.
The popular ones with splatters on the page.
The crisp, new ones, waiting to be experimented with.

I had a mammoth task ahead of me.
This is what I started with:

(Please excuse the horrible photo photos)

I started with a box, which I separated into three piles.

I had to be brutal and throw away recipes that were too simple, too bland, or that I knew my kids would never eat.
After numerous cups of coffee, and some horrible trashy tv (see my post over here on trashy tv)...
I finally regained some order!

One neatly arranged folder.
Busting at the seams it is so full, every plastic sleeve holding a handful of recipes.
I need to get another folder so I can have one for sweet and one for savoury...
But this is good enough for now!

How do you organize your recipes?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why I Watch TV (And No, I Don't Feel Bad About It)

I watch a fair bit of tv shows.
I do not watch many Australian shows, and I prefer to watch them online.

I know that people say tv 'rots your brain'.
Yes, I do think that reality shows like "Big Brother". or "X-Factor" don't really stir up the brain matter much.
They are purely based on entertaining you.
(Not that I find them entertaining at all)

I like the shows that make you think.
I like the shows that make you sit in awe as you watch one man portray a character that deepens with every episode.
That makes me appreciate acting.

I like the shows that are historical, educational, or just good for a laugh.
I like the shows that make you gasp at the end of each episode, asking yourself a million questions while you wait for the next.

Do you like to watch tv?

Some shows bore me.
I zone out and end up busying myself with other things and listen to the dull dialogue.
Others pull me into an obsession, they weave such wonderful stories that suck me in.
They create characters that I love.

I'm not obsessed with tv.
I am not ruled over by my 'idiot box'.

But at the end of the day, when the house is still and the kids are fast asleep, I like to relax.
A glass of wine, an episode of my favourite show.
I need to relax.
With two kids full of burning energy and attitude, I need to relax.

I go through shows frequently, some I come back for more, some I drift away from, not interested any more.

I noticed that one of my most popular blog posts is the one about Doctor Who.

Since I wrote that, I have become more obsessed.
I get up on a Sunday morning and settle down in front of the computer with my hot coffee and fresh breakfast and open up the Abc iView.
Those genius' thought to upload the newest episodes within hours of them screening on tv in the UK, for all the Aussie fans.
Thank you!

But I don't just watch Doctor Who.
My other recent obsessions:

Breaking Bad (I was told about this for so long and finally caved in. It is amazing, raw, real, gritty, with the best acting I have seen)

Game of Thrones (This started off a bit slow for me, but now I am hooked!)

Sherlock Holmes (Love it! Brilliant acting and great sleuthing stories)

Once Upon A Time (I was quickly addicted to this real world/fairy tale drama. It is sometimes cheesey but overall, fantastic!)

Now, I'm pretty sure everyone has some guilty pleasures. Shows that are horrible, but you just can't stop watching. Ones that make you laugh, or yell at your screen "Oh no, did you see what they just gave their child!?!"

Please don't judge me for these guilty pleasures....

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (I have seen Toddlers & Tiaras and it was another guilty pleasure a while ago, even my husband would watch with me! But this show follows one of the families and never ceases to amaze me with what they get up to... Not in a good way!)

Teen Mom  (Yep, a long time ago I watched 16 & Pregnant when I was pregnant. Now this follows the new mums on their journey. Some shockers, some who turn out to be natural mums and others who get in trouble with the law. Trashy tv at it's finest!)

Hoarders (It makes me feel like my house is spotless when I watch this show, and motivates me to clean even more! Warning: Do not eat while watching! One episode they found 16 dead cats in the house while they cleaned it up. The owner had no idea. *Spew*)

I also like to watch random documentaries on the iView and other shows that grab my interest. I love Grand Designs and other home building shows. Though it does make me wish for my own build!

So what is your favourite show?
Do you watch tv?
Are you addicted to trash?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Simple Blog Makeover Tutorial Series {Template Customization}

Hello and welcome to day 2 of my simple blog makeover tutorial series.
If you missed the first instalment, on how to make a pretty background using Photoshop, pop on over here.

Now we have our pretty background image and header, it's time to pop it on the blog and play around with the template settings to get the look you are after.

Sounds a bit complicated, looks a bit tricky sometimes, but it is quite easy, I promise!
When the new Blogger came in I hated it.
But now I can appreciate some of the improvements.
One thing that I really love is the live demo while in the template editor. Whatever you do, you get to see it, as it would appear on your blog. It makes it so much easier to tweak column sizes and match colours and fonts.

Anyway, let's begin!

Go to 'Template', then 'customize'

Select 'background' from the side menu, then click on the little grey arrow I have circled...

Select 'upload image', then 'choose file'.

Select your custom made background, then on to 'adjust widths'...

Now down to 'layout'...

Then down to 'Advanced', but don't let that scare you!

When you select one of the options from the side menu, e.g. 'Page Text', it will highlight the area you are editing. So here the live demo is so helpful, click on different colours, fonts, even sizes and you can see exactly how it will look.

Now you have finished, click on 'Apply to blog', and voila! Finished!

I hope this has made some sense to you.
As you can see by the clock in my screenshots, this was done over a period of two days, so please let me know if I have left anything out.
If you have any questions, please send me and email, or leave me a comment.
Happy blogging everyone!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Simple Blog Makeover Tutorial Series {Let's Start With A Background!}

After some very lovely comments on my new blog design, there was a request for a tutorial...

So, here goes!

First of all, I am no expert.
I was taught some Photoshop basics by my genius brother, and figured out other bits as I went along. A lot of trial and error!
I'll explain things as simply as I can, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to send me an email or leave a comment.

I started by making a custom background and header in Photoshop, then adding them into a simple pre-made blog template from Blogger.
I like things clean, simple and easy.

So let's start with a background!

Open up Photoshop and make a new image to this size...

If you like, you can make a background colour. I chose not to, and went with simple white...

You can download brushes from a whole heap of websites. My favourites are:

And here is a tutorial on how to install the brushes once you have downloaded them:

Then next we need to find some pretty colours to use.
I love this blog:

And voila!

Then, to make a matching header, make a new image to this size...

And play around with brushes, colours and fonts again.
A great website for fonts is:

And voila!

That's all from me today.

If you would like to use this background I made up this morning, feel free! I have shared it here:

Free blog background

And if you like the header, I have shared it here:

Free blog header (psd file)

Have a bit of fun experimenting with colours, brushes and fonts and tomorrow I will be back with the next part of the blog makeover tutorial, how to customize your simple blogger template.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

French Rye Bread {RECIPE}

I have an extremely long list of bread recipes that I would like to try.
Yesterday, I ticked off another.
French rye bread.

We were having a bit of a baking day, making some cute vanilla and strawberry spiral cookies...

They are a cute little treat for the kids... And sometimes us adults too!

Back to the bread.... It turned out delicious!

So here is the recipe for you.... It's easier than you may think!

French Rye Bread


for the starter:
2 tsp dry yeast
2/3 cup water
1 cup bread flour

for the dough:
1/2 cup bread flour
3 cups rye flour
2 tsp salt
1 cup water

To make the starter:

 Sprinkle the yeast into the water in a bowl. Let stand for 5mins; stir to dissolve.
Add the flour and mix to form a thick batter. Cover with a dish towel and leave for 2hrs.

To make the dough:

Mix the flours and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the starter and half of the water.
Mix the flour into the middle.Stir in the remaining water to form a fairly moist, sticky dough.
(I had to add about 1/2 cup extra water to get the desired consistency)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10mins.
Put the dough into a clean bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1hr. Punch down, then let rest for 10mins.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape into long loaves.
Place the loaves on a floured baking tray and let rest for 5mins.

Dust the loaves lightly with flour.
(I did an egg wash instead)
Cut shallow slashes down the loaves. Cover with a dish towel and proof until doubled in size, about 1 1/2hrs.

Preheat oven to 200*C.
Bake for 45mins, or until hollow sounding when tapped from underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
(I strongly recommend slicing off a piece while it is still hot and smearing some butter on it. Divine!)


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Big Blog Spring Cleaning!

Well, after days of fiddling with blog templates, tweaking html and throwing the towel in numerous times...
I finally did it.
I gave my blog a complete overhaul.
I love the clean, fresh look.
I still have a few little things to add, and play with, but for now it is finished.
I even did a little makeover on the recipes page.
I had a lot of recipes waiting to be added to please pop on over HERE to check them out.

I love getting feedback, so if there is anything you think I should add, or even remove, please leave a comment for me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Please Excuse The Mess...

As you can see, my little blog is having a major overhaul right now!
Please excuse the jumbled nonsense (more than usual!) while I wrestle with time, kids and html scripting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Spring Tee Sewn For My Boy

I did some rushed sewing yesterday.
My little guy is growing very fast, and his wardrobe is shrinking faster.
Spring has finally sprung and the days have been delightfully warmer.
A cute Spring tee was what my boy needed!

Sp I grabbed a shirt that I knew fit him well, and did a rough job tracing around it and cutting some soft, thin jersey fabric I had lying around.

I whipped it up and finished it off with a gorgeous iron on decal from my favourite book, Sukie Iron Ons.

(Excuse the snotty nose)

I am pretty happy with how it turned out!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning

This is one of the many things I have seen on Pinterest and thought to myself:
"Oh, I have to try that some day!"
Finally that day came.
I looked in the pantry and saw some tortillas and beans along with my vegetarian "mince".
My tummy grumbled for some spicy Mexican dinner, but after searching amongst my herbs and spices, I could not find a taco seasoning packet.
So I did what any sane person does in that situation, I went to Pinterest!
I found one on a site called Whole New Mom (and I can't wait to explore the rest of her site!).

It called for these ingredients...

2 Tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

I scanned the list and knew I would have most of what I needed.....
Then I rummaged in my pantry...
Uh oh!
I only had some bare ingredients, chilli powder, cumin, garlic granules, paprika, salt & pepper.
I decided to finely dice a fresh onion, grind up the garlic granules to release the flavour and just mix with what I had and give it a go....

I know it doesn't look amazing, but it tasted GREAT!
I accidentally went a bit overload at first and it ended up too strong for my vege mince alone so I added the beans and it was perfect.
I will definitely be doing this again!
Check out the original post over HERE for extra tips and instructions.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family Zoo Day

For the first time in months, my little guy slept all night.
This has happened maybe once or twice before, it is a very rare occurrence!
I know why he slept so well....
Yesterday, we went to the zoo with my family.
It was a great day!
We saw koalas...

Some big lizards soaking up the sun...

"Look mummy, it's a TIGER!!"


My little guy took me on a  few exploration walks...

We saw albino echidnas...

Some regular echidnas...

Red pandas...

We found a pony...


Have some lunch...

There were a few mumma kangaroos hanging around...

Here, have some food!

We met a naughty goat...

So to stop him from eating our clothes, we gave him some yummy green stuff...

We fed some alpacas too...

Even I got to feed some animals too!

Beautiful little deer...

Some funny monkeys...

A very sleepy dingo...

We all had a blast!