Here on the East Coast of Oz, the January sunshine decided to take an unscheduled (and unapproved) vacay this week - what on Earth?! I'm so happy to see it back, although, must admit, those few trackie days this week did force me to sit in my chair and get quite a lot of work done. Work, shmork (that reads like 'pork'?) though, because we still have a whole month's worth of summer owing. I made these fruit ice cubes a couple of days ago and they put a smile on my dial, not to mention a fruity zap in my h20. Cheers to a perfect summer weekend!
This weekend Lindsay and I recreated a dish that we learned at cooking school while staying at the Sapa Unique Hotel in Vietnam in 2013. When I go on holidays I like to collect bits and pieces from my travels and luckily I'd saved the piece of paper in which I'd scrawled down the recipe while Lindsay assisted the chef. Our lunch was absolutely delicious and all of the flavours instantly took us right back to Vietnam. Most would agree that one of the best parts of travelling is exploring the cuisine, and Vietnam delivered in spades. Admittedly, we weren't the hardcore travellers who ate every meal from street kitchens (crates), but even so, we ate some amazingly delicious and diverse flavours in every place we visited, and both agreed that Hoi An came up trumps. If you're planning a tip, here are a few starting points on places to eat - I kept the business cards :)
Hoi An: Faifoo, Morning Glory (Pork Pancake), The Cargo Club, Cava
Nha Trang: Evason Ana Mandara Resort, the Sailing Club and Lantern's Vietnamese Restaurant
Sapa: Sapa Boutique Hotel & Restaurant
Ho Chi Minh: Lemongrass, Cafe D'anver, Al Fresco's (this one is for when you're craving an Aussie burger at the end of your trip!!)
Some time ago I posted about my lifelong woes with jewellery storage. To recap, I kept finding that all of my beads, bangles, bracelets and ... necklaces (alliteration heartbreak) kept winding up in a big ol' tangled blob in one storage facility. It was an ugly catastrope. I don't know about you, but decorative jewellery is the last thing I'll think of throwing on before heading out the door, so when your pieces are in a blob, unless you want to wear a necklace that has a headband, a rose garland, a friendship bracelet and a feather earring attached, well, you're pretty much stuffed.
So, I set about exploring some different solutions for jewellery storage and fell in lust with this geo jewellery board by Maidae. Five months later, I have made it - it is mine! In fairness, it took 4+ months of procrastination and 1 week to make.
Here is the original from Maidae...
So now it's confession time. I actually had two attempts at the jewellery board. The first time around I made the mistake of not using primer on top of my wood stain, so the paint job was a streaky mess. Back to Bunnings I went. If you want to recreate this though, you should be right with the following list.
You Will Need
- Timber - I used a piece of plywood and had it cut at 50cm x 70cm
- Stain - I used a 50ml bottle of Feat Watson Prooftint spirit based stain in 'maple'
- Masking Tape
- Primer - I used British Paints Prep 4 in 1 in white
- Acrylic paint - the type you would use for craft is fine. Note, I also patch tested with spraypaint and it did not work as it reacted with the stain (even though the dude at Bunnings said it would be fine)
- Clear varnish - I used Cabot's Cabothane Clear (it's not overly shiny/varnishy)
- 1.5 inch paintbrush for stain
- Approx 2cm paintbrush for paint
- Stanley knife/blade (if you are replicating this geometric pattern)
- Hooks of your choice
- Hanging hardware, if your desire to hang it - mine is just propped against the wall.
- If your timber is overly rough you might like to give it a quick sand.
- Give the timber one coat with your stain - don't forget the edges of the timber. I left mine to dry overnight.
- Use the masking tape to create the pattern of your choice on the timber, again, wrapping the tape around the edges to continue the pattern. Ensure the tape is firmly affixed to the wood to prevent paint seepage.
- If you are replicating the same geometric pattern, use your blade to carefully remove the segments of tape that you will want to be coloured white.
- Apply two coats of primer, being mindful not to apply paint too thickly so it doesn't leak under the tape.
- Apply up to three coats of acrylic paint. I found that I achieved a smoother, less streaky finish by painting the second coat in the opposite direction. Leave to dry overnight.
- Remove the masking tape!
- Apply the varnish. You could probably varnish the whole thing at once (stained and painted bits) but I was a bit worried about streakiness so I used my smaller brush to apply the stain to the painted parts first, and then the stained bits. Took a bit longer but I wasn't prepared to ruin my hard work.
- Measure out where you want your hooks, drill in some holes and attach your hooks (thank you, boyfriend!)
And you're done!
As for the other bits and pieces, I've been collecting a few vessels from here and there. The jewellery box is from Inspired Tribe (got a January sale bargain - $10), silver hammered tins from Seaweed and Sand ($19 ish for set of 3), white canister from Freedom ($7). Ahhhhhhhhh - that feels so much better!
This lovely sunny Saturday I wanted to share a recipe for something that you can make now, and enjoy later - I'm thinking, first sign of a crisp Autumn morning, you crack open your infused syrup and drizzle on a lovely stack of pancakes.
I was inspired to make infused syrups via the My New Roots blog. There really is no recipe here. You can use honey or maple syrup, or do what I did and combine the two. I used pistachio, orange peel, gogi berries, star anise and rosemary in my syrup. Personally, I wouldn't recommend the pistachio actually, because they kind of expanded and didn't look wonderful.
What do you use them for? Add a little va-va-voom to your pancakes or even as a sweet dip for a contrast with savoury breads.
This post is a long time coming - almost two years old! Better late than never. These are some shots from when my friend pal, Mel, hosted a catch-up lunch for a few girly friends. Girl has mad decorator skills and secret culinary prowess. It was such a nice afternoon with big friends and mini friends, complete with a post-lunch nail painting sesh to boot. I think we might be overdue for another tea. x
I was on the hunt for something sweet and chocolatey one day, and was pretty excited to come across Emma & Tom's Life Bars at Woolworths. I was doing that thing where you buy the 'healthy' chocolate, so you don't feel so bad...
What I really appreciated about these bars was the short list of actual ingredients - ingredients that I could identify on a line up. Such a rarity with processed foods.
Because of this, I was able to recreate the bars myself by playing around with the quantities. Thanks and sorry, Emma and Tom.
I added some protein powder to my bars. I look for unflavoured protein powder with the fewest amount of ingredients. I like Vital Protein 100% Pea Protein and Planet Food 100% Whey Protein Isolate. Read the ingredients lists on your proteins because a lot of them contain sugar (using those sneaky names!) or artificial sweeteners and other who-knows-what.
Raw Fruit & Nut Cacao Bars
200g dates, finely chopped
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw organic cacao powder (note, this is different from cocoa)
80g cashews, finely chopped in a blender
90g raisins, finely chopped
2 tablespoons protein powder
1 tablespoon almond milk (if needed, to add moisture)
1 tablespoon almond milk (if needed, to add moisture)
Combine all ingredients and shape into balls. You might even like to roll the outsides in coconut or crushed nuts. Store in the fridge.
Last year I made some fairy party bags for Little Bow Thief but haven't gotten around to showing them til now. If you're planning a fairy party, here are some things you might like to include in your party bags...
- glitter pen
- fairy stickers
- sugar jubes
- white freckles
- sherbet lollies
- plastic wand
You know, all the things that fairies like and need. I tied these into organza bags and fastened a tiny bell to each. You can find all these types of treasures in large discount stores.
A little whimsy from Stephanie Burt's Fairy Tea Party. x
This (sweltering!) afternoon I wanted to share a little garden project for the special mini people in your life.
This is my Magic Fairy Dust, specifically, it's a tiny bottle filled with a mixture of glitter and cottage garden seeds. Something I might have gone gaga over when I was little, so, I made it a thing.
I wrote out some fairy instructions on mini scrolls...
Find a sunny garden spot
And clear a special row
Sprinkle out your fairy dust
To help your garden grow
A quarter-inch beneath the soil
And watered every day
In two weeks' time
Your fairy friends
Will come to dance and play
You Will Need
- Mini corked bottles, available from discount/craft stores
- A packed of seeds (mixed cottage garden is good, and easy to grow)
- Fine glitter as well as some stars
- Sparkly ribbon for tying
- Mini scrolls (DIY - but you can use my poem :)
Happy New Year!
Can you believe we're already five years into the New Year? Someone posted a status on Facebook today to say that Easter Eggs were already on sale at the supermarket, and you know what I thought? I thought, "Yussssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!" Haha... guess it was just one of those chocolate days.
I'm feeling really good about this year.
For the past few years I have kept a tradition where every new year I write a summary of the last year, and some goals for the year ahead. The idea was that it was supposed to be a reflective (present) and amusing (future) record. I went to write my spiel a few days ago and ended up chucking my paper in the bin. It felt like I was just rehashing old stuff and was kind of pointless. I need to look ahead, not behind. So I may be done with that tradition. I am also resolution-free. I never keep my new year resolutions; how long until I learn that? Guess I just did! Resolutions can be fickle things, but goals and plans, they're very important. But the drive needs to come from somewhere stronger than the buzz of a new year. Gotta turn them into plans.
To directly contradict myself, however, I do love the buzz of a new year and the feeling of a fresh start.
Here are some of the quotes on my corkboard that will be staying up this year:
There are only two options: make progress, or make excuses.
Instead of complaining about your circumstances, get busy creating new ones. You either suffer the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret.
Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.
Work hard in silence; let success make all the noise.
A goal is when we chase a dream. If we do not set and chase the goal, it is only ever going to be a wish, at best. We all need dreams to give us drive. Without them we get bored and sad. A dream is something we would like to happen or have. It gives us a reason to live and strive.
Lately I have been making an effort to declutter (activities, not possessions... I still like those) and simplify. Sometimes I have my finger in too many pies...aka projects. I'm going to write a post on that subject in the future - something called 'decision fatigue'. It's the reason why I deleted Words With Friends. Small example, but just a gesture to eliminate some clutter from the 'to-do' list. That's the point though, I think. It only has to be a few of the small things, to make more room for the important stuff.
Already this year, I achieved massively by moving my business HQ to one spot. Last year I spread the work between Wollongong (businessy stuff) and Mum and Dad's place (kitchen stuff) but it's all here in one space now. It already feels so much more organised.
Hope you had a very happy Christmas and new year's eve! We had a very relaxed Christmas with family, and really fun NYE spent with family, too. We also celebrated the arrival of Lindsay's second nephew - lots of exciting times =)
Til next time, here are a few recent pics x
Just before Christmas we met up with two of my housemates aka family members from when I lived in London in 2007-8! We hadn't seen each other since then, and had the best day!
Palm Beach morning followed by lunch at The Boat Shed - so good! Little bit of succulent + cactus +pots inspiration...
Lindsay and I went camping at Currarong. Okay, GLAMPING. I made that tablecloth! (Yeah, I sewed a straight line...) And see our camp kitchen?! I love it.
Making fairy bread with the girls on NYE. Very thorough, they made sure to do lots of taste testing along the way.