Monday, December 21, 2009

{cooking} for christmas

growing up, christmas was more about the food than it is about the presents (still is!). there are a few staples that i have to make, for it to really feel like christmas... both these recipes come from my mum. i use the same recipe, but mine never turn out exactly perfect like hers does! don't be deterred, they are always crowd pleaser's!

...the ingredients
250g butter, chilled, cubed
2 heaped tablespoons rice flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups plain flour

place all ingredients in a large food processor and mix until mixture begins to form into a ball.
press firmly into well greased small patty-pans, or into one large lamington tray.
prick with a fork in a decorative pattern.
Optional: get extra fancy and push a walnut or pecan into the mixture.
bake in a slow oven (150degrees celcius) for 45 minutes.
cut in the tray when still warm and allow to cool in the pan.

rum-less rum balls 
(so as not to feel guilty about eating these for breakfast every day in december, i usually omit the rum... hey they have weetbix and sultanas! that's a totally healthy breakky, right?!)
...the ingredients
12 weetbix, crushed finely
400g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup sultanas
Combine all ingredients and mix well
roll handfulls of mixture and roll in extra coconut.
chill until hard.

what goodies make up your christmas?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

a little festive cheer...


a little hand knitted plum pudding...

a plywood evergreen... i have an adversion to plastic green chistmas trees.
nothing personal if you have one, but they're just not my cup of tea.

Noel... a french word for christmas... makes me think of beautiful carols like the first noel, carol of the bells, Handel's Messiah...

there should be a lot of love at christmas...

and lots of mum's shortbread. mine will never be as good as hers!

how have you got into the festive spirit??

Saturday, December 19, 2009

a lovely film

tonight i saw a lovely film...

you've probably heard about it :: bright star. jane campion, writer and director, has made a this beautiful film. it's so vivid, so full. so dreamy. the cinematography is breathtaking: so captivating. it makes me want to visit hertfordshire in the spring...

have you seen it? what did you think?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

a little trip

oh friends, i am just too excited! we're going on a holiday... a wonderful holiday! the flights are booked, so let the planning begin!

one glorious month, just the two of us...  
chicago. new york. london. paris. florence. rome.

image :: etsy

tres exciting, non??

if you know where to find some travel inspiration, let me know! maybe you've blogged about your trip, or know of a great website to visit. maybe you've been there and know that exact restaurant i should go to, and which photo opportunity i should not miss!

i have been following peonie's latest posts on new york with much anticipation!

Monday, November 23, 2009

{cooking} risotto

i'm not sure where my love for risotto came from. my mother, although the most tremendous cook, never cooked risotto. italian food is lost on her. pasta. risotto. parmesan. oh it's terrible just thinking about it!!! don't you think she is missing out on some of life's greatest enjoyments????

oh but risotto: i could write an ode to it. and not only can it make me swoon, but it is also my last-resort meal. the one thing i can cook when there is nothing to eat in the fridge. infact, risotto is the ultimate meal. it can be as simple or as elegant or as fancy as you like.

so, here is my risotto recipe. it's evolved over a few years... many thanks go to ursula ferrigno, curtis stone & jamie oliver for their little hints along the way.

image :: david loftus

 ...the ingredients
1 onion, diced very finely
2 cloves garlic, through a garlic press
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup aborio rice
a few cups boiling water
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbs chicken stock powder
multitudes & multitudes of freshly chopped herbs, salt, cracked pepper, parmesaan cheese.

the method...
fry onion and garlic with the butter and oil in a heavy based fry pan. cook until onion is transparent. add in the rice and stir for a minute or so, until rice goes a bit transparent. then add the wine, which will make a lovely bubbly broth for a few seconds until a lot of it evaporates. add in the stock powder here, and add half a cup of boiling water.
stir the risotto once, then let it sit for a few minutes until the water is all taken up. then add another half a cup of water. keep letting it all soak up, then add more... and so on until the rice is cooked until just a little bit crunchy.
here, add lots of freshly chopped herbs, freshly cracked salt and (lots of) pepper, and lots and lots of cheese. if you want to go really over the top, add a little knob of butter (or a tablespoon of cream) and just let the whole thing sit for a minute or two.

serve with an extra crack of pepper, a shredding of cheese, a dash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

and my latest variation-on-a-theme? pan fry some swiss brown mushrooms with plenty of butter, lemon thyme & pepper; and heap on top of the risotto. oh bliss!

what's your last-resort meal?? blog this wanted to know :: go on, you know you want to join in!

and, more importantly, what's in your perfect risotto dish??

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a stork tea

today i was reminded of how "aussie" i am. a beautiful friend of mine is French-South African (her name is talitha, how elegant is that!). it was her baby shower today. or i should say, it was her stork tea today! i was a bit perplexed for a second when i received the invite, but i think the name is just so lovely! i am here-by voting OUT the term baby shower and IN stork tea.
(side note, i am also voting OUT those terribly embarrassing games that everyone seems to play at baby showers. there are no games at stork teas, and that's a rule!)

oh i do love a little party, and especially one where you get to bring presents! so out came the sewing machine, and as they say... the rest is history!
  my creative space...

this little reversible pinny (with ribbons on the back) and frilly bloomers -
both patterns & material from funky fabrix

more bloomers :: oh so little & cute!

all boxed up and ready to go...

what's come out of your creative space recently??

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

{dreaming of} my dream house...

i need little encouragement to think about my dream house... my dad is a draftsman and i've been brought up around house plans! oh the dreams i have... one day hubs and i will live in our beautiful house, designed by us (don't we all have that desire?? will it happen?? i hope so!)

this is one house that caught my eye recently. located on stradbroke island, it's made by a team in Brisbane called happy haus. it's a series of small buildings (modules), connected by spaces and walkways. there's a living module, a sleeping module, and you just add what you need!

i love the idea of a not-so-big house. i read the book a while back and it just makes sense. space that is practical and beautiful. but only as big as you need. less cleaning, yes! but more together time with your family. you're near eachother, not at separate ends of a too-big house...

this little house is just that. unassuming. a small eco-footprint is important to me, and this ticks the boxes. a space that makes the beautiful landscape around it's focus. i want a house that will let me live openly with the outside. oh! i could go on an on...

you can see more amazing pics here ...

and i just love that it arrives on the back of a truck and gets winched into place!

all images :: happy haus website

this was part of the Blog This Challenge 23. Go on, you know you want to join in!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

a small shopping spree...

shopping and me... well we have a lovely relationship. so ask me to spend $200 on etsy and what would i buy?? let me show you...

a little festive cheer :: october is not too early for decorations, right?!

a letterpress necklace :: recycled from old type-writers, i love the romance of having something as simple as some initials mean something significant to me. j & r. forever...

i live by this :: keep calm and carry on poster in yellow

and while we're at it i'd buy this for my mum :: she needs some de-clutter encouragement! (don't we all...)
a big bunch of amy butler fabric :: one day i am going to make a damn good looking quilt.
i am. just watch me

and finally... this 1950s spring frock :: cute, much?!

Wanna join in the fun?? check out blog this
[ok so i went over by one lousy little dollar... but who's counting?!]

Friday, October 16, 2009

dreaming of...

hello my friends...
are you ready for a holiday?? ...oh, i am...

today i went on a mini holiday through some blogs and found this delightful little place through a cup of jo

and my heart went all a-flutter. shall i book now, do you think??

ever since i read winter solstice by rosamunde pilcher, all i want to do is go to scotland. and dress in tweed. and sit in a library. a real library in a real stone house.... *sigh*

Saturday, October 3, 2009

this week i...

here's a few little things to tell you about my week.

this week...

...was a much better week than last week.

you know when everything goes wrong? that was last week. so this week was like a breath of fresh air!

...finally got rid of some dust in my house.
after most of birdsville's dust seemed to deposit itself in brisbane (namely, OUR HOUSE!), serious action was needed! so there was a lean-mean-dust-cleaning-frenzy happening at out place. josh and i got into it in a pretty spectacular way. isn't it amazing how clean floors and a dust-free table can make you feel?? some vintage office Lark mugs in the mail!
thanks to Real Living who published a few pics of my piano room :)

...i am starting to get excited about christmas!!
and i think i need to buy some wall decals to celebrate!
a partridge in a pear tree?? so kitsch!

wall decals :: The Wall Sticker Comany

...i won a giveaway at funky fabrix!!
get excited, peoples! this is my first blog-giveaway-win.
let the summer-sewing-frenzy begin!!

what has your week been like??

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

this week i...

*sigh* hello my little blog. i know! no blog love lately :( i have been ignoring you a bit in the last few weeks. but life has been a little CRAZY busy, you know??

this week...

... my husband josh came home from his Overseas trip
(Thailand/Philippines) ... and he bought me back some goodies!!

... we went to melbourne* for the weekend!
*to do a bit of footy watching (good season, Lions! we cheered for you!)
*to eat a little bit of food
(MoVida Next Door - Flinders St. Order the Squid, you won't be disappointed!)
*to do some drooling at the Queen Vic Markets deli hall *sigh*
*to do a bit of shopping

... i'm reading Julie & Julia: My year of cooking dangerously.
so far: hilarious. check out her blog... or buy it on amazon.

... i'm getting inspired to sew
i have all the "ingredients" thanks to a little trip to funky fabrix and can't wait to get started!!

... i'm loving seeing the brisbane design*sponge guide
with my name in it! thanks Kylie from Flying Ducks!

... i'm going to a wedding on sunday!
and i have a pretty new green dress to wear (thanks melbourne!). weddings always make me think of my marriage, and how lucky i am. i will most probably cry :)

photo of us by confetti photography

what are you doing this week??

Monday, August 31, 2009

the mystery gift

i am getting a present! for no reason in particular my husband has bought me a gift. it hasn't arrived yet and i don't know what it is. i am excited!! excited, but perplexed...

usually, i can guess. i know how he thinks! one clue is all i usually need. but not this time. this time i have a list of clues i have managed to get out of him, and still no idea!!

what do you think?? comment if you think you know what it is... please!!!

here are the clues i have wrangled out of him...

it's coming from the USA
it's got about an eight week delivery time
it's not very expensive
he's worried i will buy this gift for him for his birthday (a few weeks time)
he hope it arrives before it goes on sale in australia
i would use this thing weekly
it can be used either inside or out
it has no wind-turbine connotaions (look, i just had to ask!)

argh! the suspense is too much for me! i wanna know now!
my only ideas are about some sort of cooking implement... but i don't know! my friends and i are secretly hoping it will be a red KitchenAid! but sadly, i think we will be dissappointed :)

thoughts? ideas?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

red shoe day

i hereby declare tomorrow red shoe day.

...why not!
to put a little smile on my face when i look down and instead of plain old black there's a bit of colour to celebrate friday! (and no, definitely won't be wearing the jimmy choo's to work!)

wanna have red shoe day too??

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

wish list

i get slightly freaked out about buying people presents. i love giving presents. but i want to give the perfect gift. always. so i get a bit obsessive about buying the right present.

of course, i am the easiest person to buy for *cough cough*. but right now i am going to give you a sneak peak of what's on my ultimate gift list. The BlogThis challenge this week is to write a list of 5 things that would be on the list of perfect presents for me. here goes...

1. a handbag. i can never have enough!
it would probably be nice big one, so i can put everything i could possibily imagine i will need. and look a bit like this witchery one...

2. a bit of bling... and would hopefully arrive in a little blue box... *grin*

3. and then, to satisfy my magazine obsession... a lifelong supscribtion to real living magazine.
i just can't get enough!
4. i'm hopeful for a little bit of travelling next year... around the world?? why not!! a passport cover is definetly on my wish list... and i love this one by Aussie crafter Pepperberry & Co. So kitsch!

5. and finally, a fail-safe present for me. pajamas! I LOVE PAJAMAS! aren't these ones from deshabille beautiful!!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

motherly love

family IS a very special thing to me. i have a fabulous Mum & Dad who i'm lucky enough to live near and see regularly...
(every Saturday? 11am?? lets just say the phone will ring & i'll know who it is...)
the Blog This challenge for this week was to share a memory of your mum or dad... Where do i start? there are so many great memories of me & my parents: mostly ones that make me laugh: and that's a good thing!

but here are a few pics of Me & My Mum this year on Mothers day...

a day where my mum got a new camera lens (because, you know, 4 isn't enough...) and then needed to take pictures of Josh's vegie patch... (josh then decided this would be perfect opportunity to weed. let's just say it was a productive morning!)

and then she had to steal a bit of the produce before going home...

(i've gotta say, that was a great crop of basil that made more than one batch of pesto!).

My parents are all about the outdoors... getting into the garden... taking photos in the outdoors... holidays in the bush... so this memory was a great one: we weren't sitting on the couch having a stuffy morning tea: we were outside getting our hands dirty and having a few laughs at the same time!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

book club

i love reading. i do. i'm an obsessive reader. when i'm reading a book, everything else goes out the window: eating, sleeping, cleaning. So... that's why i thought we needed a book club on Cup Of Kitsch... and Blog This has a "what's on your bedside table" challenge this week. so: enter stage left, the first book club post!

i heard a beautiful quote recently from author Alexander McCall Smith, who was being interviewed for ABC Classic FM by Margaret Throsby. When asked "What's on your bedside table"... he replied
"towers of books.... my bedside table is actually a bit hazardous
to approach because there are large numbers of books..."

that imagery could just as easily applied to my bedside table. There you'll find my favourite books, ready to refer to when the moment calls. Books that i feel i should read, books i want to read.

some books i have read, and loved, and will love for all time...
Pride and Prejudice - J. Austen
Persuasion - J. Austen
Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres

Frederica - Georgette Heyer
A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

some books i have sitting there, waiting to be read...
La's Orchestra Saves the World - Alexander McCall Smith
The Man who Ate the World: in search of the perfect dinner - Jay Rayner
Julie & Julia: My year of cooking dangerously - Julie Powell

but let me quickly tell you a little bit about a book i have read recently. this is a book that i had known about for several months. and i had an absolute aversion to it. DID NOT want to read it. and then i started dreaming about it, and it would come up in conversation. i felt i just had to read this book.

it's called the shack, by WM. Paul Young...
and it's a story about Mac, a father who's youngest child is abducted while on a family holiday. a series of terrible circumstances show this child was then abused and tortured in a small shack in the middle of the wilderness. and her body is never found.

sounds terrible? it is. i felt physically ill reading parts of this story. but you have to keep reading, because of what happens next.

Mac is traumatised. why did this happen. what could he have done to stop this? what if's...

and then a letter arrives in the mail. a letter inviting him back to the shack where his daughter was killed. a letter from God.

wow. what a book. i can't tell you the whole story. you need to read it to believe it. it is a fictional book, just a story. but a very powerful story. and in some ways it answers the question of "why does God let bad things happen". i think it shows how faith can be relevant to us, today. it's a story of healing. of empowerment. and it IS just a book - there's parts in it that didn't quite sit right with me. but a fantastic read...

and i would recommend it if you haven't read it. if you have read it, i would love to hear what you thought, too.

happy reading!

image: The Shack Book


yes. i do come from generations of fabric hoarders. it's in my blood! what am i supposed to do? use it?!?!?!

So i'm a guest blogger at Blog This this week: check it out! and check out the blogs!

argh! so many things to make, so little time :)
(she says as she goes back to the sewing machine...)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

let the fun begin

ok. i must admit that i have run from this for awhile. i'm not sure why, but probably the "stereotypical" view the (non craft) world takes on quilting.

but i have started a quilt.


i thought i would throw in a teaser of some of the fabulous fabric i'm using:

yes, out comes my orange obsession again!

they are by a designer called Lizzy House - she has a beautiful blog worth checking out!
the quilt (yes, my first ever!) is a childrens design. easy block design. wish me luck!

pictures to come...

images : andover fabrics

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


no, not magic mushrooms! but little button mushrooms! and we're growing them (well, i should actually correctly say my husband is growing them!)

check out our little box of goodies:

the box comes all ready-to-grow, and it lives in our garage (dark and cool) and gets a light spray of water every morning. and wallah! 3 weeks later we're eating mushrooms for dinner every night...

all mushroom recipe comments gladly appreciated :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

what a weekend...

What a weekend! as always, it went too fast... but hey, that's life.

it's fun to do crazy things every now and again. like put up a christmas tree. in july. and have secret santa presents. and bon bons. and sit around a table and have a big cooked dinner and tell the stupid jokes from the bon bons.
[eg. what's big and green and always points north? a magnetic cucumber. seriously. who comes up with these?? ]

so yes, Christmas In July happened this weekend for us. and it was great to catch up with some friends that we haven't seen for AGES... it's good, isn't it?? to catch up. chew the fat. laugh. cry.

(love christmas!)

and here i am, sunday night. i have so much blog inspiration: and so little time. but here is a little promise: a blog this week! mayhaps two... oh i'd like that :)
shall i finish with a picture of rudolf in my lounge room. He's gotta have a red nose for Christmas, right?!

i think'd make santa proud, don't you?
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