Saturday, August 2, 2014

A special bag for a special little girl

My husband's 2.I.C has a little daughter, Mackenzie, who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. I wanted to do something special for her and decided on a cute little bag to carry all her essentials like her needles and sugar tester, etc. After a bit of thought and some sneaky and very technical measuring by my husband (almost as big as an A4 sheet of paper by half a fist wide... you get the idea, lol) this is what I came up with.

I used much the same method as for the snap-happy bags I've made in the past (book bags).
I thought the snappy closure would make it quick and easy to get in to, and I included a layer of plastic on the outside of the bag and added handles so that she could carry it over her shoulder easily.

Lastly, I added her (very long) name to the front just to make it special!

Mackenzie was absolutely delighted with it....
and I know it made my husbands day to be able to give her something special.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing

Another scrumptious recipe I've made recently which came from a Delicious Cookbook....
definitely worth the effort!!

1kg boneless pork belly (skin on)
1/2 firmly packed cup (110g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) red wine vinegar
2 star anise
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup coriander leaves
1 cup Thai basil leaves (see note)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 long red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced

·        Preheat the oven to 220°C.
·        Score the pork belly skin at 1cm intervals. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan, skin-side up. Rub 2 tablespoons of salt into the skin, then pour in enough water to fill the pan to just under the rack. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy, then reduce the oven to 180°C and roast for a further 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender, topping up with water as necessary.
·        Meanwhile, place the brown sugar, red wine vinegar and star anise in a saucepan over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the mixture has reduced by half. Add the lime juice and continue to reduce for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is syrupy. Allow caramel dressing to cool slightly.
·        To serve, transfer the pork belly to a board, carve into bite-sized cubes and arrange on a platter.
·        Drizzle the pork with the caramel dressing, then scatter with the mint, coriander, Thai basil, spring onion and red chilli. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Something else for Cath

Another little bag I also made for my friend Cath's Birthday..... I just love these little shoe bags by Annie Downs and I especially love the colours I chose for this one!

and a couple more in progress..... I wonder who these will be for?


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Upsized Book Bag take 2

You might remember my first attempt at an upsized book bag a few posts back, which ended up being too short to hold most of my friend Cath's larger books? Well, I'm pleased to say that my second attempt was much better and I was able to give it to Cath for her birthday last week. I went to a little extra effort and added some applique to this one as I was pretty confident that this time it would be just right!

I just love the clever use of the old steel tape measure in this pattern to make the snap-close top and plan to use the same closure for some other ideas I have soon too!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another Art Folder

Another little art folder made using my tutorial... this time a gift for my friends daughter who has just turned 11.... hope she likes it!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apple and Custard Tea Cake

Another yummy recipe I've just discovered.... this time from the June issue of Super Food Ideas magazine.... Apple and vanilla custard tea cake!  I

185g butter, softened                                                                    Custard
2/3 cup caster sugar                                                                     2 tbsp custard powder
1 tsp vanilla extract                                                                      ¼ cup caster sugar
3 eggs                                                                                         1 cup milk
1 cup self-raising flour                                                                  1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup plain flour
1/3 cup milk
1 red apple, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
20g butter, melted
1 tbsp raw sugar
Extra ½ tsp raw sugar, to serve

Make Vanilla custard: Combine custard powder and sugar in saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Cook, Stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool.
      Preheat oven to 180oC/160oC Fan-forced. Grease a 7cm deep, 20cm round cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.  

      Using an electric mixer, beat butter, caster sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Sift flours over mixture. Fold until just combined. Add milk. Fold until just combined. Spoon half the mixture into prepared pan. Whisk cooled custard until smooth. Leaving a 2cm border around edge, spread custard over cake mixture. Dollop small spoonfuls of remaining cake mixture over custard. Carefully spread to completely cover custard. Smooth surface. Arrange apple slices, slightly overlapping on top of batter. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
      Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn, top-side up, onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with extra sugar.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Reversible baby dress by Miss 15

This sweet little reversible dress was made by Miss 15 for one of her work friends who had a baby girl not long ago. she used a tutorial that she downloaded and some lovely Amy Butler fabric she had been saving.  She also made some cute little yo-yo flowers to decorate a baby singlet.... such a lovely gift!