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Easy Lemon Bars

Hello hello!  I discovered this recipe from Taste of Home.com (original credit goes to Etta Soucy of Mesa, Arizona) whilst looking for something yummy to make for a morning tea with my cousin.  She is an EXCELLENT cook so I wasn’t going to try anything too fancy that would demonstrate how un-excellent I am in comparison to her.  This slice was very simple, tasted delicious (my cousin took the remainder home to share with her family), and didn’t require a lot of mucking about.  I am lazy when it comes to cooking – I don’t want lots of complicated steps or procedures, or weird ingredients NO ONE has in their kitchen cupboards.  I don’t want to have to do a three hour shopping trip just so I can bake something for dessert.

Anyway, this recipe is super easy and pretty fool-proof (I’m a fool and the recipe worked, so there’s your proof, ha ha).  It’s nice and zingy with plenty of lemon flavour.

Easy Lemon Bars

Ingredients

For Base

1 cup plain flour
115g butter, softened
1/4 cup icing sugar

For Filling / Top

2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Method

  1. For the base : Rub butter into the flour and icing sugar, until you reach a crumb stage.
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  2. Press the crumb mixture into a 20cm square cake tin, lined with baking paper.  Press down with a fork – make sure mixture goes all the way to the edges.
  3. Bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes.  Don’t allow it to brown – it should be just cooked.
  4. For the filling : In a food processor (or, alternatively, use a whisk), beat the remaining ingredients together until smooth and well combined.
  5. Pour filling over prepared base, and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 C.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting into squares and dusting
    with icing sugar.

Best kept in the fridge if weather is warm.  The base is basically like shortbread, but the centre becomes gooey if allowed to get warm.  Not that gooey is a bad thing, mind you 🙂

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Hope you give these a try – they really are very quick and easy to make and VERY yummy.  My cousin and her kids approved 🙂

Thanks for stopping by x

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Serenity Now

Some more weekend crafting…

I must admit, I played around with the background on this for ages, splodging paint on and swiping it, dotting it, mixing different colours etc.  Then I got fed up with my efforts and covered the whole thing in dress pattern paper.  When in doubt, stick some paper over it.  The fine tissue paper of the patterns covers nicely and gives that crinkly, textured look.  I rubbed a bit of white paint over the top to tone it all down to make the text and lines a bit “gentler”.  Then I discovered that I had put the paper on THE WRONG WAY UP, so the hanger at the back of the canvas was on the bottom, instead of at the top.  D’oh!  I haven’t done that sort of silly stuff up for ages.  Oh, well, I will sort it out later 🙂

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Next, I sketched in a head shape.  I was actually really pleased with this one.  I wanted to stop right there, before I spoilt it…

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Then, I added the basic colours to the head, hair and body.  My Mum gave me a pile of paints on the weekend, so I had some extra colours to play with…

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After, drawing and re-drawing the face about a million times, I settled on this one.  It is by no means perfect, and I am still frustrated that I have such trouble with facial features, but it will do.  I have to keep practicing and hopefully improving with each piece!  The only way is up, right?

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I added stamped words and some wings and a crown.  At least I am getting better at putting wings on straight now 🙂

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I wasn’t totally happy with the bigger letters, so I added some swirly details to them to balance it all a bit more and not make the lettering seem so harsh.  I did some outlining, and added a stamped border (kinda wish I hadn’t used black as it is also a bit harsh, but I’m not changing it now – will use a different colour next time that is softer and more in keeping with the rest of the piece).

The “Serenity Now” makes me laugh a bit because of its Seinfeld references, but I still think it is appropriate.  She looks fairly serene, and with the week I’ve had, I could do with some serenity, to be honest.

Overall, I was quite happy with her.  I just really need to work on those faces!

Hope you are having a calm, peaceful day, and if not, hope you can find some space to have a little bit of serenity now x

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First Rate Second Hand Buys

Hello everyone.  I’m so glad it is Friday.  This week was my first back from holidays and, boy-oh-boy, what a long week it was!  Work has been hectic and stress-filled and I don’t feel as though I have even just had a break.

It’s been a while since I did an op-shopping (thrifting) post so I thought I would show you some of the things I have picked up lately.  There is a lot more than is featured here but, in the interest of brevity and not wanting to scare myself with how much stuff I bought, I’ll just show a few.  A selection of goodies, if you will.

  1. Canvases – I recently participated in a school fete (had a little stall selling my cards and other wares) and, at the end of the day, the White Elephant stall was selling all its leftovers for $1.00 (fill a bag for one dollar!).  I had a quick look around and found some kids’ canvases – two sets of five.  The lady at the stall told me they were $3 a set and the price could not be reduced to the $1.00 special.  I figured $6.00 for ten canvases was still pretty awesome anyway, so I went to the counter to ask the lady to hold them for me while I went back to get some money.  Before I could ask her, she said “That’ll be one dollar love…”  I queried whether they should actually be the higher price and she assured me that no, they were reduced.  So I happily paid the dollar and went off with my purchases.  But it didn’t feel right.  So, after feeling guilty for a while, I went back and told the lady I didn’t think the price was correct – that I should have paid more.  She assured me it was ok but I felt bad, like I was ripping the fundraising off, so I gave her a few extra dollars anyway.  So, I think I paid $4.00 in the end for ten really good little canvases – nice and study, ready to paint over, ready to hang and everything.  I’ve already used a couple for paintings.

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2. Vintage soup bowl  – such a pretty little thing, this bowl.  I love the design, and how it is different on each side.  I liked the little bee on it 🙂  I saw the bowl outside an antique shop and I just had to have it.  It’s not in perfect condition, but for $5.00 I can look past that.  I will just use it as a display piece.

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3. Pink shoes – Very pink for me…but super comfy and soft.  I only wear leather if I can buy it second hand (because I’m a vego).  These shoes are tiny too.  I am sure my feet are shrinking.  These were only a size 5 (36).  Plus, they were half price so I only paid $3.00.

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4.  More canvases (and books) – I keep finding old canvases in op shops and, if they’re cheap enough, I snap them up.  Especially if they come in sets.  There’s a selection here – different shapes and sizes.  I also got a few old children’s books for cutting up.  I think this lot cost about $10.00 all up.

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5. Floral Jacket – I recently attended a friend’s wedding and I had to buy something appropriate to wear.  In my search for a nice jacket, I picked this one up for about $5.00.  I didn’t wear it to the wedding though (I borrowed my cousin’s faux leather one for that – it went with the navy blue dress I wore much better) but I will happily wear it to something else.  It’s quite fitted and cropped but nicely made and not too heavy.  Oh and please excuse the bandaged thumb.  My dermatillomania is a bit mental right now so I am picking my fingers to pieces.  Not very attractive.

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6. Books.  Mum and I went to the annual Save the Children Fund Book Sale.  We look forward to this every year.  It’s the highlight of Spring 🙂  This year they didn’t seem to have as much stock, which was a bit disappointing, but I still managed to pick up quite a few bargains.  The books ranged in price from 50c – $4.00 (unless they were antique etc).  I bought about 30 books for roughly $60.00.  I got lots of animal and bird titles, for cutting up for collage etc.  So many lovely birdies!  The “British Birds” volume features beautiful vintage images so I will probably not cut that one up – will colour copy instead.  So of the pics are worth framing.  Books make me happy!

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So, that’s just a few of the things I picked up over the course of a few months.  I love a bargain, but I am trying to only buy things I know I need or will use.  I don’t do the buying frenzies I used to do 🙂  I am trying to not fill my house with more crap, and just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean you necessarily need it.  Books are the exception, ha ha.  I always need those!

Thanks for stopping by x

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Dream Queen

I managed to do a few paintings / collages on the weekend, after my crafting ban of the prior two weeks.  It was actually good to have a break from it, to clear up a bit (a bit…) and also refresh my brain and start on something different.  I am trying desperately to get better at painting – my Mum and brother are brilliant but I, sadly, am not – and find a style that sits comfortably with me and my abilities (or lack thereof).  I’m also trying to just DO, rather than over-thinking things.

So, I started this painting, which turned out to be a mixed-media piece in the end with the addition of some collaged “extras” and, although she’s not perfect, I’m fairly pleased with her.  I’m trying so hard to not judge my work too harshly, because it hinders the process and makes me have unnecessary tantrums.

This lady got a nice lace collar….

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…and a bit of a rotund face.  A bit too round for my liking….

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…so I trimmed it down a bit, so she’s got a more angular look…and she got a crown too, and some wings (naturally)…

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…I added a stamped border and stamped “dream” letters, anddid a bit of outlining to highlight some details.

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…and she’s done 🙂

I’m still not very good at faces (and I kinda wish I hadn’t made her face less round now), but I am hoping the more I do, the better I will hopefully get!  My other plan was to give up entirely and just paint/draw all my people facing away from me, thus negating the need for faces at all!  Hooray!  But that’s cheating, right?

Thank you for dropping by and having a look at my funny, imperfect art 🙂

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Broccoli & Cheese Party Snacks

Now, I understand that broccoli is not necessarily something you think of when someone says “party snacks”, but trust me, these are yummy and a good dish to have if you are serving vegetarians (and don’t want to give them the same boring old hard-boiled eggs or carrot-sticks-with-dip type scenario).  Easy to make and easy to eat – what could be better?  Serve with a nice, rich tomato sauce for dipping.  Yum!

Ingredients

400g broccoli florets (blanched for 1 minute in boiling water and chopped finely)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (but any cheese that you can grate would be fine)

3 spring onions, finely chopped

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 egg white

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Mix all of the above together in a large bowl until well combined.  I actually cheated and bunged the cheese, bread and spring onions all into a food processor so I didn’t have to grate and chop, but either way is fine 🙂  Take spoonfuls of mixture and form into ovals, roughly the size of two walnuts (hope that makes sense – I couldn’t think of anything else to compare them to!).  Bake on a tray in the oven at 200 c for approximately 20 minutes, turning over halfway through.  They should be nice and golden and holding their shape.  You could easily make them larger and flatter, to form a burger, if you wanted to perhaps serve them as a meal for dinner with a salad or other accompaniment.

Give them a try – they’re tasty and almost healthy (if you don’t think about the cheese!).  They actually have an almost meaty taste so your non-vego friends will like them too (and if they don’t, too bad – more for me!).

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

 

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Love the Moment

Hello everyone 🙂  I have been on leave for a couple of weeks and placed myself under a strict no crafting ban.  I knew if I got stuck into making things (and, therefore, making a mess) I would never get tidy and organised.  So I had two weeks of sorting and culling and making my home fit for human habitation.  My craft room was going to be last on the list as it is an area I close off anyway and doesn’t get seen unless I want it to!  Needless to say, it is still in a mess.  I just didn’t time to complete the tidy up in its entirety.  But the rest of the house looks good now.  I even had some visitors during my leave and I wasn’t embarrassed to have them in my space.

On my final two days, I let myself do some crafting.  I figured it was my reward for doing adult stuff like dusting and ironing (ugh!).  I started with this canvas – a freehand painting with acrylic paints.  I drew a design straight on to the canvas, which is something I don’t normally do and did not incorporate any paper or mixed media elements.  I decided to just go with the flow and not think about any of it too much.  The worst thing to do is start comparing your work to someone else, so I tried really hard to just enjoy the process, regardless of whether the finished piece was good or not.

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I was pleased with the final outcome.  I don’t mind that she’s got a big head and ridiculously long neck, or that her hair resembles a teddy bear hat.  I am just glad to have had a go and not fussed over it all too much.  I’m not normally brave enough to put a design straight on to the canvas, so this was new for me.  Normally I draw it out first and often draw and paint the person on a piece of paper, before cutting them out and gluing them to the canvas, after I’ve worked out the background.

I had some issues with the wording – it took me forever to decide on the words and I just couldn’t make anything work.  I had this “Loving the Moment” stamp that I had picked up in an op-shop, and it seemed to fit the space perfectly.  The design itself didn’t stamp out very well, due to the non-flat nature of the canvas, so I had to fill it in afterwards, but it looks ok.  I’m not sure exactly what “moment” she is loving (best not to ask a lady these things!) but I’m going to say it’s representational of me just enjoying some peaceful, creative crafting time, all to myself.

So, I am pleased with this one.  It isn’t perfect, but that’s ok.  I’m going to keep practicing and trying to find my own style.  It’s the only way to get better.  And, in the meantime, I am enjoying the process and the moment 🙂

Thanks for stopping by x

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