Image

Ready To Rock (Cat Collage Card)

I don’t know about you, but I am very rarely primed and ready to do anything, let alone rock.  I follow more of a resigned and begrudging style of embracing life, to be honest.  Not so my nieces and nephews.  I have been spending a lot of time with them lately, and one of their favourite things to do is craft.  Whether it be colouring in or drawing, making collages or cards, or a combination of all four, they really love being creative.  Which is a bit of a relief.  What if they were super sporty or into playing computer games? *shudders*

A couple of weekends ago, we had a few happy hours of card-making and magazine-scrap collage-making.  Good fun.  The kids are so good at it because they just CREATE.  They don’t think too much or worry about anything other than putting paper and glue together in a design them pleases them.  Bliss.

Anyway, as all good Aunties must, I had to participate in the activity – just being a casual bystander was not going to be acceptable.  Can’t say I minded – what better way to spend a few hours than with little people I love, doing something I love almost as much.

So, this funny little cat card was one of my completed pieces.  Made from scraps of scrapbooking paper, corrugated card and pieces cut from magazines, it came together pretty quickly.  The hardest part was finding the “rock” text (which, of course, I could have just cut out from individual letters).

I like the cat’s saggy little belly and his general attitude.  Who doesn’t love a tabby in a party hat?  All he is missing is some cheese on a stick and he’s good to go 🙂

Hope you are primed and ready, to do whatever you need to do today –
thank you for reading x

img_4354

Advertisements
Image

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

We had a morning tea at work this week, to farewell one of our longest-serving staff members.  For twenty three years TM has worked diligently and cheerfully, always going the extra mile and making sure everything and everyone is organised and looked after.  I have only been at the organisation for just over three years, but in that time she has been such a support to me and I will miss her terribly.  I don’t even want to think about her not being there when I arrive in the mornings.  The place will seem very empty without her presence – even on the days she’s not there, she’s still THERE, you know?

So, as is mandatory for all morning teas, cakes, biscuits, quiches and slices were baked and brought in for everyone to share.  I made my Date & Almond Slice, and also tried a new recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies, which I hadn’t made before.  They turned out really well.  Very moist and moreish and easy to make.  Everyone enjoyed them so I am glad I tried something new, and will make them again.  I tend to make things I shouldn’t really eat (ie things with chocolate or nuts in) – my theory being that I won’t indulge too much myself.  This is a fallacy.  I eat half the batter before it even goes in the tin and then keep taste-testing the baked product.  Pathetic.  I’m sure my kidneys hate me.

Anyway, the brownies were delicious – I did modify the original recipe slightly as I felt it had too much sugar in it (I left out about a 1/3 cup from the chocolate batter, but I am giving you the original amounts here).  The recipe comes from Baking Bites – a lovely foody blog with lots of yummy recipes, baking advice, kitchen gadgets and more.
Please do visit their site – you’ll find lots of inspiration 🙂

IMG_3840


INGREDIENTS

Brownie Batter
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake Batter
8-oz ricotta cheese (I used smooth)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with baking paper.
Prepare brownie batter: In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder until well-incorporated. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Stir in flour and salt, mixing until ingredients are just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour into prepared pan and set aside.

Prepare cheesecake batter: In a medium bowl, beat ricotta cheese, sugar, flour, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A sharp knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
Cool in the pan completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into small squares (or large squares if you’re a piggy ha ha)

IMG_3846

Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Enjoy!

And to TM, I say a fond farewell – you will be missed more than I can say x

Getting My Craft On (and trying to avoid a cold)

Getting My Craft On (and trying to avoid a cold)

Ugh.  Feeling slightly icky today.  Am hoping it’s just a 24-hour type of thing as I have plans to enjoy my weekend and do a bit of crafting as well as enjoying the Australia Day fireworks tomorrow.  I haven’t been ill in ages (and have jinxed myself by saying exactly that, out loud, today) so I really don’t want to spoil my run of good health.  Just very tired and slightly feverish, headachey and blah.  My Mum is staying for the weekend and she always makes me feel better, plus I’ve dosed myself up on vitamin C, garlic and horseradish, so hopefully I will perk up tomorrow. Being sick on a public holiday just will not do!

Spent some time with my brother and his brood today.  Master M was turning six and so we had a little family gathering to celebrate.  Much fun was had.  The children are so well behaved and such a delight to be with.  My heart swells-to-bursting with ridiculous love for them.  They’re just such NICE little people.  Master M got so “awesome” presents (lots of lego, art supplies and an amazing Minecraft-themed bean bag) and had a lovely time building his new lego creations and playing with his siblings.  He had requested a “fox” birthday cake so his Mum made a delightfully orange one (which was enjoyed by all) and she also had decorated the room in various fox-themed party favours and decorations.

IMG_7613

IMG_7651

IMG_7647

IMG_7648

In the afternoon, I attempted to start making some cards (as a lady at work has requested some from me and I have absolutely nothing in my stash).  I completed one, but as I was not feeling the best, gave up for the rest of the evening.  I’m happy to have made one – it’s a starting point and I didn’t have too much trouble making it, despite feeling under the weather and rather uninspired in general.  I went with my stand-by theme of egg-and-wings.  I just love the combination.

IMG_1269

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.  For those of you here in Oz, happy Australia Day for tomorrow – hope you enjoy your day!  I’ll be watching the fireworks from the foreshore, just at the end of my street.  I am ethically opposed to fireworks – the environment suffers as do any poor animals and birds in the area – but as they will happen regardless, I might as well enjoy them too.  Especially as my beloved nieces and nephews, brother, sister-in-law, and Mum will come and watch them with me this year 🙂

Parties, Memories & a Bit of Crafting…

Parties, Memories & a Bit of Crafting…

Well, this week has been a busy, stressful and tiring one.  I’ve been a little bit unwell – nothing terrible, just bad neck and back pain combined with some nausea and headaches – and have had some time off work which I rarely do.  I think I was just a bit stressed out and it always affects me physically.  I had been helping my cousin get ready for her 40th Birthday and that in itself was a stressful situation (you think I’m a stress-head? Amplify that by about a million and you get my cousin…) with drama after drama, dresses not arriving, worries about catering, finding wait-staff etc etc turning what should have been a nice backyard celebration into a full-on spectacle.  It all ended up perfect of course – the long-awaited dress (bought on Ebay) turned up the day of the party, the food was all gorgeous and there was plenty of it, wait-staff were booked and performed admirably and everyone who attended had a great time and went to great effort with their outfits (it was a “Fire and Ice” theme).  I cannot say I enjoy parties.  I try to, I really do, but I just don’t get them.  I’m just really uncomfortable and nervous and shy (ugh – I hate saying that; it sounds so lame and childish) and I hate the noise (God, I am so old!) and trying to talk to people by yelling and having to be sociable.  So, really, I am just a party-pooper.  I don’t drink so I tend to feel a bit of an outcast around all the other people who are generally drinking, or already drunk.  I’m not saying you have to drink to have a good time – far from it – but sometimes being a non-drinker kinda places you at a disadvantage.  I don’t want to drink and even if I was able to have alcohol, I wouldn’t anyway because I am always the one driving.  Plus, I am a control freak and don’t like anything that alters my ability to have a handle on any situation.  Luckily, my brother and his partner were there, with my darling little niece, my Mum and all my cousins and Aunts and Uncles too.  Plus a couple of people I knew as friends of friends etc.  So I had some people to hang out with.  I still managed to occupy my usual haunts which (at any given party) are a.) the kitchen and b.) a handy dark corner.  I kinda used my Mum as an excuse to stay wherever she was (it would have been rude to just leave her on her own…) and the kitchen always needs an extra hand.  I did also supply a large batch of cake pops (the bloody things took forever to make…) so I had to supervise their display and serving…  At the end of the day, the party was for my cousin and she enjoyed herself immensely with all her friends and family and looked beautiful and was thoroughly spoilt, which is the most important thing.  I think I was just feeling blue because I’m on my own again and don’t have that significant other to fall back on (so to speak).  I felt like the odd one out yet again and it kinda sucks.

During the week, I did find time to make a couple of things (I had one glorious day off work where I sat and crafted all day, trying hard not to feel guilty about not being at work.  I was just so tired and mentally exhausted – I needed a day off to recoup and regroup) so here is a selection I made whilst watching, ahem, Dr Phil…

IMG_5046

Little owls!  I’ve already sold a couple of pairs of these earrings – owls are the “in” thing apparently…

IMG_5047

I really like these green ones…they look almost vintage…sort of…

IMG_5048

Birds’n’berries (that’s what they look like to me – berries!)

IMG_5050

This is a particularly bright and bold necklace but I figure some people are bright and bold (unlike me who is meek and boring ha ha)…

IMG_5051

I call these the “Royal Sugared Almond” earrings…don’t you think they look edible?  Have already sold them…

IMG_5063

Blue cubes…

IMG_5062

Blue and white and swirly…

IMG_5064

More birdies…this time on toadstools…

IMG_5065

Black and sophisticated pearl…

IMG_5049

Glass “gem stones” – love these beads…

I also had to find time to gather up some old photos for my cousin in England who is doing a photo book for my Aunt who has been unwell.  My cuz wanted a few pics of my Mum and us kids when we were all younger.  Some really nice ones of my Mum and I was kinda cute I suppose…

IMG_9760

Look at my Mum – such a hottie hee hee!  She looks like a Charlie’s Angel or something 🙂

IMG_9762

And me…rocking the socks-with-sandals look.  Hey, it was the seventies alright!?  You’ve gotta love the Tinkerbell pinny though!  And oh, the blonde hair!  Sigh…where did it go?

Now it is time to do some laundry, tidy up my house and get prepared for tomorrow.  I’ve got a hospital visit first thing – got to see my renal specialist for my 6 month check up.  Always makes me nervous but I hope everything is ok.  Then it is back to work – hopefully for a less stressful week and not too many dramas (last week was a tad hideous in many ways).

Hope you have all had a lovely weekend and are planning on having a wonderful week! 🙂

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…

IMG_2916

Waiting for parties to start is VERY tiresome!

IMG_2912

But it soon starts a-happenin’!

IMG_2910

Big Brother Deacon enjoying the donut-eating contest …

IMG_2911

…which ended satisfyingly!

IMG_2915

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

IMG_2914

IMG_2917

Hmmm, not sure about this one…

IMG_2913

…here, you have it!

IMG_2908

A lady never gets ice cream on her party dress…

IMG_2927

IMG_2885

Brothers are ok sometimes…

IMG_2924

IMG_2923

IMG_2918

IMG_2922

IMG_2921

IMG_2920

IMG_2919

IMG_2907

The party was fabulous darling!

IMG_2909

Hurry up and cut the cake!

Thanks for reading!  🙂

New Job & The TARDIS

New Job & The TARDIS

Hi everybody,

Well, I survived my first week at my new job.  It wasn’t so bad and I think I did OK.  I have basically been left to my own devices a lot and still don’t have a clear idea of what I’m supposed to be doing or, rather, how I should go about doing it, but I am hoping to get some more direction and instruction as time goes on.  I knew it would be an autonomous role (which I liked) but I thought I would be given some procedures or directives to follow.  At the moment I am just wading through a backlog of work that has been piling up – but, as I don’t know exactly how to go about things, I am just shuffling paper around for most of the day, trying to make sense of things.  My neck pain has been terrible (always made worse with stress) and I had a bit of a meltdown on Thursday evening – just trying to cope with everything AND be in chronic pain AND cope with relationship problems AND feel like I’ve gotten myself into a bad situation again.  Anyway, week one over and done with.  The people are very nice and friendly, I can make myself cups of tea whenever I feel the need (salvation!) and I have worked out the best route to travel to and fro (still takes me up to an hour to get to work but it’s ok and not too stressful).  Now I just have to figure out how to do my job! 🙂

On a sadder note, we had to say Goodbye to our beloved tabby cat, Bronte, on Monday night.  She had gone down hill rapidly this year and despite us desperately wanting her to reach the grand old age of 20 in November, we had to make the decision to let her go.  I was with her at her birth and will love her forever.  I hope Heaven has a sunny spot for her somewhere – she will be greatly missed and left a great big pawprint on all of our hearts.

100_1453

Hubby and I went to a fancy dress party last night.  It had a Time Travel theme.  I have to admit, I really hate parties.  I am not good at them and I don’t enjoy them at all.  Most of my hubby’s friends are much younger than I am and so I always feel out of place and like an old fuddy-duddy.  I hate the super loud music (God, I am a fuddy-duddy!) and I’m not good at small talk with strangers and I can just feel myself projecting a “Hello – I am very dull” vibe.  Anyway, it was ok.  I went as The TARDIS from Doctor Who.  Well, an approximation of it anyway! I hadn’t had time in the week to get together an outfit to wear so two hours before the party I started making things…

IMG_7891

TARDIS POLICE BOX HAT/HEADPIECE

IMG_7906

TARDIS POLICE BOX JACKET (didn’t want to pin anything to my dress…)

So, not the world’s best costume but hey, I only had a couple of hours… At least people knew what I was.  Poor hubby went as Rufus, from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” but no one knew who he was.  I think they were all too young – some of them wouldn’t even have been born when the movie came out.  But I thought he looked awesome anyway.  My outfit wasn’t completely authentic or even correct (in terms of some of the wording on the hat and jacket) but I didn’t care.  I’m just happy I managed to put something together and that people didn’t keep asking me who I was supposed to be.  Luckily there was quite a few “Doctors” in the house so I fitted in well!

Today we got up an 1.30 In the Afternoon!!!!  Disgusting!  I hate wasting the weekends but we were obviously both tired and needed the sleep.  Now I don’t have time to do any crafting as there is housework to do and errands to run.

Just a short post today – if I get anything made or have something ground-breaking to write about, I will let you know!  Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, wherever you are in space or time 🙂

IMG_7913