Craft Convention Madness!

Craft Convention Madness!

I like a craft show.  All that paper and ribbon and buttons and crafty goodness all over the place.  My purse shudders in terror because it knows it will be given a work-out.  And today at the 2013 Perth Craft & Quilt Fair, it was no exception!  Mum and I started out early in the morning so we could get there just after it opened for the last day of trading.  We did our usual “sweep” of the place first, deciding what we wanted to go back to later on, buying a few bits and pieces we didn’t want to risk losing or missing out on, and “oohed and ahhed” over the stuff on display.  The Fair is great because it is mostly supplies which is what we are interested in.  It also features a lot of companies and shops from over East that we can usually only shop at via online methods.

So many inspiring stalls and things to see.  Beads and buttons and fabric and quilts and wool and scrapbooking supplies and tools and paper crafting…

I wasn’t able to take photos as they had a no photo policy (unless you had express permission from each stall holder and I couldn’t be bothered with all of that!) so I can only show you my “haul” for the day.  I did come home with money in my purse so that’s a good thing.  It was rather less money than I started out with though!

It was a lovely day out with my Mum but we were both pretty tired by the end of it…now we just want to make stuff with all our goodies! So, here’s a sampling of what I bought:

Pretty, lacey edging…

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…Victorian scrap…

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…dainty little ceramic beads…

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…Copic markers…

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…pastel seam binding…

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…teeny, weeny buttons…

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…tiny acrylic blossoms and leaves…Image

…mini french postcards…Image

…paper flower cutouts…Image

…gorgeous green glass beads…Image

…more buttons…Image

…rustic trim…Image

..delicate pom-pommed trim…Image

…tiny (but sharp!) scissors and blending card…Image

…co-ordinating papers…Image

…jewellery findings…Image

…don’t you love this little “door” locket?  Love, love, love…Image

…paper flowers in lovely, dusty shades…Image

…shabby snowflakes…Image

…and cute cabochons…

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It was so much fun and we got lots of bargains.  Now I just want to get stuck in and make things!  But it is Sunday night, it’s dark and cold, I have to iron tomorrow’s clothes and make my lunch – so no crafting for me.  But I will sleep well tonight with dreams of all things creative and arty, until I get some time next weekend to create a few new items and have a play with all these goodies 🙂

My Week (in pictures)

My Week (in pictures)

A few random moments in my week…thank the heavens for Instagram.  It makes everything prettier, less boring and much more photogenic…hope you’ve had a good week – mine was l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g and face-palmingly frustrating in places.  Big craft convention tomorrow with Mum.  That should make up for it 🙂

Until then, here’s a few little spots of colour in my week…Image

“Jeb” – the resident dog at work.  He came in for a cuddle, a scratch behind the ears and plenty of butt rubs!

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A section of my little library – I’ve been reshelving and sorting, tidying and shuffling…

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Ash, my neighbour’s kitten, stopped to say Hi when out playing in our garden…

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Golden sunshine on the leaves…

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Pretty, pretty Lantana…

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Camellia in Mum’s neighbour’s garden…

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…and the resulting Camellia carpet in Mum’s yard…

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Monster mushroom…not sure if poisonous so not taking any chances!

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Rather large cricket/grasshopper taking a break on the fence.  Look at his beautiful purple eyes!

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Hubby and his new long board…

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PJs & fluffy slippers…yep, Winter is coming…

Have a happy weekend everybody – I’ll report back on the craft show later in the week 🙂

 

A Dining Experience

A Dining Experience

On Thursday night, hubby and I, with a group of friends, had a beautiful dining experience at The Loose Box , in Mundaring, about 30 minutes from Perth.  The night was chilly and we braved the cold night air in our best frocks and hoped and prayed that the restaurant would be heated.  Thank Goodness for log fires (environmentally unsound but hey, we were freezing!) and cosy restaurants!  We had been looking forward to dining at this wonderful establishment for several months and so nothing but a blizzard would have kept us away.

The Loose Box has been operated and headed by Chef Alain Fabregues for over thirty years and has gained a reputation for being THE place to dine at least once in your life (it’s one of those bucket-list type of places).  The restaurant is, sadly, being sold soon as Alain and his wife are moving on to pastures new (luckily for us, another eatery in Perth) and so the Loose Box will become something else and people will not have the opportunity that we were all too happy to experience last night.

At $160 a head, it’s not the cheapest meal around and I, being the tight wad that I am, did hesitate when first invited to come along.  But I am oh-so-very-glad I decided to loosen the purse strings and plunge head first into foodie heaven.  We had the “Degustation” experience – seven (count ‘em!) courses (vegetarian for us, a mixed bag for everyone else) as well as crusty bread, complimentary tea and coffee and the most delightful selection of mini-desserts (I guess they’d be petit fours but they were really like tiny dessert masterpieces – lemon meringue tartlets, profiteroles and the most divine salted caramel macaroons).  Each dish was so beautifully presented, it seemed a shame to eat it.  A shame, but not an impossibility   Each bite was full of flavour and I found myself taking smaller and smaller forkfuls just so I could make the dish last longer.  The first course, a “Snow Pea Cappuccino” soup was oh-so-yummy.  The flavour was amazing and I could have happily just eaten that all night.  A beautiful bright green, with a lettuce foam on top and a sprig of mint.  Heaven!

I swapped my vegetarian option for a seafood one in the second course (I know, I know, bad vegetarian!).  So glad I did (sorry fishies!).  It was a tiny tower of seafood and smoked trout with dill, lemon and celeriac.  Oh. My. God.  So delicious!  I love dill and it flavoured the dish magnificently.  The following offerings were equally delicious (although hubby and I both agreed the main dish of Moroccan Vegetable Tagine was a bit of a letdown and neither of us finished it) and by the time the amazing apple sorbet palate-cleanser came around, I was starting to be very glad I was wearing tights – they were the only thing stopping my stomach from expanding in a very unattractive manner.

The final course – dessert, yay! – was so pretty and beautifully presented.  I opted for the “Majestic Swan” which was comprised of a vanilla bean icecream, tuille biscuit and a raspberry coulis (all made to look like the most wonderful swan on a scarlet lake).  Gorgeous!  My hubby had the “Beehive” which I believe consisted of honey cream in a tiny tuille beehive with an even tinier meringue bee on top.  Also on offer were chocolate frangelico crepes (complete with a delicate little meringue bird perched on a scoop of vanilla bean icecream) and a cheeseboard of fine French cheeses, fruits and walnut bread.

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The petit fours that arrived at the end of the evening were so lovely we all forced ourselves to try at least one, despite our groaning bellies and the possibility that we might not fit back in the car on the way home.  The salted caramel macaron – sigh – was a-maz-ing.  I could have died happily eating that little sucker.  It was better than chocolate and that’s saying something (especially for someone who dearly misses chocolate and thinks nothing compares).  I ended up taking my lemon meringue tartlet and profiterole home in a little box the restaurant provided.  Dessert for tonight!

All in all, a wonderful experience.  I am so glad I went.  If you’re in Western Australia, and can get in before the restaurant closes its doors, I thoroughly recommend saving up your pennies and booking in for an evening of dining.  The staff were warm and welcoming and the hefty price tag was so worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.  Two thumbs up (and a definite need to wear elastic-waist pants) from me.  Beautiful.

PS I wish I had photos but we were all too busy eating and enjoying ourselves to take photos, plus the room was quite dark (for ambience doncha know) so any pics we attempted to take turned out a bit iffy.  Check out the Loose Box website while you still can.

 

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

My beautiful little niece, Finlay, celebrated her 3rd birthday this week.  As all little princesses should, she had a party on the weekend with family and friends (including her two brothers, deacon and Marlon, my gorgeous nephews), lots of pink and plenty of fun.  Her Mum did an amazing job of decorating the house and yard with all things pretty and pink with a candy bar, balloons, bunting and banners.  Finlay was well and truly spoilt – but if you can’t be spoilt when you’re three, when can you?  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

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Waiting for parties to start is VERY tiresome!

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But it soon starts a-happenin’!

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Big Brother Deacon enjoying the donut-eating contest …

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…which ended satisfyingly!

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Big Brother # 2, Marlon with lollipop # 2 (and counting…)

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Hmmm, not sure about this one…

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…here, you have it!

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A lady never gets ice cream on her party dress…

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Brothers are ok sometimes…

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The party was fabulous darling!

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Hurry up and cut the cake!

Thanks for reading!  🙂

Awards…

Awards…

I am always amazed that I have any followers – especially with the hit-and-miss style of posting I use (or, rather, don’t use, at the moment as I am finding it difficult to find the time to post anything).  At the moment I have 103 followers for which I am very grateful (so, thank you to all of you) and hope that I can sustain that number and perhaps even increase it.  This week I have been lucky enough to be nominated for two blogging awards : The Liebster Award from Poppy of Poppy’s Patisserie/Bunny Kitchen & The Versatile Blogger Award from Wilma of Perpetual Art and Craft.  Thank you to both ladies for nominating me – check out their blogs at the links provided 🙂

Both awards come with some rules attached.  I’m going to try hard to follow them and do as instructed.  So, for the Leibster Award (which I believe is for blogs with less than 200 followers), the rules are as follows:

The Rules:
• Post 11 random facts about yourself.
• Answer the 11 questions made by the person who nominated you.
• Create 11 questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
• Choose 11 bloggers to pass the award to and mention them in your post.
• Go to their blogs and let them know that they have been nominated
• No tag backs.

So here goes…

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I love stationery.  Notebooks, paper, files, index cards, diaries…all that stuff.  Heaven!
  2. I love animals.  Over the course of my life I’ve had dogs, cats, bats, geese, chickens, swallows, doves, magpies, parrots, ducks, quail, sheep, turkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits and kangaroos.  Oh and fish.  And mice.  A couple of lizards. Other people’s horses and donkeys.  At the moment I have no animals in my house and that makes me sad.  Stupid rental rules.
  3. Blue is my favourite colour.
  4. I have little feet.
  5. I cry when people sing, in harmony, together. I just find it makes me overwhelmed and emotional.
  6. When I was four, I thought Olivia Newton John were two people – Olivia Newt & John.  I got confused because John Travolta’s name was, er, John.  Easy mistake to make.
  7. I have dabbled in witchcraft.  But only for good reasons.
  8. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
  9. My cousin and I share a weird & spooky psychic connection.  
  10. My favourite song ever is Don MacLean’s “American Pie”.
  11. I am an insomniac.

Now to answer the questions set by Poppy;

 

What’s your favourite cookbook?  I have one by Alison Holst, that I use quite a lot – “The Best of Home Cooking”.  I love cookbooks in general though…I have lots!

What is the worst kitchen disaster you’ve ever had?  Hmmm, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a major disaster… One year Mum and I forgot to cook our Christmas dinner – we served up food for everybody else and forgot to cook our own (vegetarian) meal!

If you could become a non-human animal, what would you choose to be and why?  Probably a bird.  Can I say a bird? Not really an animal though…maybe a cat if not a bird.  A well looked after cat that is spoilt and lives a happy life.

What dish do you make most often?  I would have said Brownies before but I don’t make them as often now that I can’t eat chocolate.  Salad – I eat a lot of salad!

If you had to emigrate to a country of your choice, where would it be?  England or Canada.  Although both places are too cold for me!  I

If you wrote a book, what would it be about?  Probably a crafty book (if non-fiction) or a urban-fairytale kind of book.  I love Alice Hoffman and Charles De Lint…

What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate?  Can’t think of anything for that one.

Where’s the weirdest place you ever went?  Nashville was a bit kooky.  Maybe it’s the humidity, I’m not sure.

Do you have an embarrassing/cheesey nickname?  My hubby used to call me Peanut.

What’s your favourite website?  I’m not much of a web surfer…there’s lots of lovely sites to look at but I don’t really have favourites.

What is your favourite charity?  I try to help out the animal ones as much as I can – WSPA, RSPCA, IFAW, Save the Bears etc.  I also support World Vision and The Red Cross.

Wow, they were really boring answers!  I hope you’re still awake!  I now have to ask eleven questions for my nominated bloggers:

  1. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  2. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve kept and worn an item of clothing?
  3. What’s your favourite era?
  4. What were you good at in school?
  5. Where do you want to be in 10 year’s time?
  6. Where were you 10 year’s ago?
  7. Cheese or chocolate?
  8. If you were a flower, which kind would you be?
  9. What’s your all-time favourite book?
  10. Sneakers or heels?
  11. What would your friends say is your most-annoying habit?

Ok, so on to my nominated bloggers/blogs:

  1. This Rosy Life
  2. Sugar & Cloth
  3. Kate’s Creative Space
  4. California Pixie
  5. Winter Owls
  6. The Handmade Card Blog
  7. Gone Pickin’
  8. Crow’s Feet Chic
  9. The Cranky Queen
  10. Blacklilypie
  11. The Clever Bunny

I will commence “following the rules” of the Versatile Blogger Award in an upcoming post.  I don’t want to overwhelm you with questions and answers and blog-links and whatnot today.  Plus, I am lazy. That’s the main reason.

Hope you are all having a lovely Saturday in whatever little part of the world you call home.  Thank you again to all my followers and my fellow bloggers Poppy & Wilma for nominating me.  Much appreciated 🙂  I’m off to Roller Derby in a moment – not to participate, of course (I have enough trouble walking without falling down, let alone on skates) but to watch and cheer on the gals in their hotpants (brave in this weather) and to pine over and lust after the hot chips everyone walks around eating in front of me.  🙂

What is Your Crafting Style?

What is Your Crafting Style?

What is you crafting style?

I could say I am neat and tidy, organised and orderly when I craft, but my pants would immediately catch on fire and my nose would grow about 6 inches longer.  As I have spoken about my hoarding tendencies and messiness ad nauseum in this blog, I won’t go on about it here but I thought, as a sort of connected subject, I could talk about my crafting “style”.  By which I mean my complete lack of any style while crafting.

When I am at home and not expecting company (other than hubby who doesn’t notice me any more and is very short-sighted anyway even if he did) I tend to gravitate towards comfort.
What does comfort mean to me?  Well, it usually involves baggy clothes, slipper socks, jeans I haven’t washed in a few weeks (oh come on – you all do it!) and hair that is pulled up and back and makes me attractive to no one.  I avoid mirrors on such days because I am interested only in paper, glue, fabric and scissors – I do not care about makeup or fussy hair or fashion.  I want to be comfortable and not worry about getting paint on my best shirt or accidentally glueing sequins to my dress.

My crafting day will typically involve many cups of tea.  Many.  There will be toast.  There will be music (and possibly daggy dancing when no one is looking) and there will be warmth – I am a cold morsel and although fresh air is nice some of the time, I mostly like to be ensconced in cocooned warmth and solitude.  I can’t do anything when it is cold.  My hands hurt, my neck aches and I feel decidedly un-creative because I am too cold to think about anything else.  So warmth is what I need.  In our old house this meant practically sitting on top of the small heater in the lounge and dressing like an eskimo.  In our newer house I am hoping to be slightly warmer this year and be able to craft comfortably without being wrapped in a blanket with a hot water bottle strapped to my back (yes, I have done that in the past – don’t judge me).

So how about you?  Do you like to be colourful and comfortable when creating, or is simple and plain more your style?  Do you wear jeans or track-pants, PJs or dresses?  Hair up or down? How ever you do it, I hope it makes you happy and brings out the real you.  Unfortunately for me, the real “me” is style-free and possibly not fit to be seen in public.  But that’s ok 🙂

 

Bran Muffins

Bran Muffins

Hubby and I were invited to a pot-luck breakfast this weekend.  I didn’t end up attending but did send hubby off with a batch of healthy bran muffins to add to his contribution of apple pancakes.  These muffins are super easy to make and I’m calling them “healthy” because they don’t have a lot of fat in them (well, fat in terms of oil or butter…you can make your own calculations as to how much fat is in the other ingredients!) and contain tonnes of fibre.  I’m not supposed to eat a lot of whole grains (another wonderful restriction my renal problem has forced on me) but the rest of you should gobble these up with abandon.  They’d be a handy snack to take to work or eat on the bus on the way to work.  I think they’re tasty enough that kiddies would eat them – they’re a good substitute for cupcakes or other treats.  Serve them as is or nice and warm with a bit of butter if you so wish.  There’s lots of sugar in these (in the form of golden syrup) so no need to add honey or jam.

 

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Bran Muffins

2 Cups Wheat Bran
1/2 Cup Plain Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Bicarb
1/2 Cup Golden Syrup
1 Egg
1 Cup Milk

Place wheat bran into a large mixing bowl. Sift other dry ingredients on top of the bran and then mix through.  Warm the golden syrup over a low heat in a small saucepan (or in a bowl in the microwave) until it becomes runny.  Take off heat and mix in egg and milk until thoroughly combined.  Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Mixture will be quite runny and wet – that’s ok!  Spoon or pour into prepared muffin tins or patty pans.  Bake at 200 C for approximately 12-15 minutes.  Muffins should be just firm in the middle and golden in colour.  Because of the high sugar content, they can burn so keep an eye on them.

Serve warm with butter or leave to cool and eat whenever!  Keep them in an airtight container to stop them drying out.  They freeze well though so keep a batch in the freezer for unexpected midnight hunger pangs!

Hope you enjoy them – they really are very easy to make, don’t have lots of ingredients and taste yummy.  Give them a try 🙂

 

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