Friday, December 23, 2011

Christchurch, Foo Fighters & Christmas

First off I just want to say to all those Christchurch folk that we are thinking of you all and hope that everyone is safe and coping with the latest lot of nasty aftershocks.  I got a big fright here as we swayed but nothing compared to those in Christchurch so my heart goes out to you all.

This time last week we were at the Foo Fighters concert in Auckland. Man 50,000 screaming fans at Western springs was an amazing experience even for someone like me who doesn't really like the music.
We brought the concert tickets for the kids birthdays and they had a blast.  The crowd was very well behaved, shame I can't say the same for the weather seriously what was Auckland thinking?
I was absolutely soaked - Jamie was dry and he was "moshing" up the front lol.
We spent 6 days up in Auckland having a look around and staying with Nigel's brother who was kind enough to loan us his car complete with GPS so we found our way around so easily.
We even lined up to get a fee Foo Fighters t shirt from the Rock Radio station along with over 1000 other people - but hey all part of the experience - right?

And with Christmas eve approaching tomorrow I have been busy making Christmas cakes for my work.
I work for Kiwi Span and these are the cakes I made for clients - once all done up in cellophane they looked pretty good really:
But we also have 5 other companies in our office and part of that is a company called "Cow House Construction" and we make houses for cows!  So two of our big clients also got a Christmas cake and this was how they turned out:
and this is all of them lined up before we made them look all pretty with ribbon and cellophane!
I have to say there was MANY hours worth of work there, lucky for me Mum made the cakes.  I got a lovely bunch of flowers and a voucher to take the whole family out for tea from my boss's which was lovely and very unexpected as I was happy to do it :-)  A learner has to practice on someone!

I am ready to move on from Christmas and have a 21st cake to make for the 14th of January so that will be a nice change.
Today I have spent in the kitchen baking and made some Christmas cupcakes which i will take a photo of tomorrow and share with you.
And thanks to Bo, Abby and I have been playing in the craft room too, so hopefully I will be able to share photos of those too.
But for now it's off to bed for me soon - Jamie is working until 11pm so Nigel and Abby have gone looking at the Christmas lights and will pick him up so hopefully we should be all tucked up in the next half an hour or so.
I wish you all goodnight and hope it is a peacefully, quiet and very still one!

Take care everyone and thanks for popping by, if I don't get to post tomorrow, I also wish you all a very Merry Christmas



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tomorrow is December!

OMG I know I say this all the time but where is the year going?

I can't beleive that it is just over 12 months since I sold Embellish It to Tania, it seems in some ways like it was yesterday and in others it feels like a distant dream.  I often get asked if I miss it, and sometimes I think I do but most of the time I am happy to be where I am today.  I have a lovey job with great people to work with and get to spend more time with the family - although they will tell you that I don't.

I have spent the last 12 weeks competing in a 12 week challenge over at our local gym.  It was fantastic and the kick up the backside that I needed!  I am happy to tell you that it is all over (just in time for Christmas) and I won second place in the competition and got a three month gym membership, which I will start in Janurary.  I was the biggest looser of our group loosing 9kg in the 12 weeks which I was really happy about.
My fitness improved also which was amazing as I was pretty fit going into this, running 10kms Saturday and Sunday, playing basketball, and touch rugby - ok so maybe my family might be right but I am sure they get to see more of me!

I also started a new hobby - cake decorating and have joined our local guild.  This is my very first attempt at decorating a fruit cake, this is the one that I did a class to learn to cover and I looked at lots of tutorials on u tube and made these little characters for the cake.  This one is Mum's Christmas cake.
I learnt a lot from doing this, number one - don't be so impatient!  There are cracks in the bow because I wanted to finish it right then and there, when I should have waited overnight.  But I will wait next time, promise lol well maybe!
This one I have finished tonight and made for my boss - he is hard done by and only gets to cut his christmas cake on Christmas day, so I made one he can cut tomorrow on the 1st of December, lucky my mum is so good at making them, this is just a little 6 inch cake.  But this time i was game enough to use my hand writing to write on the cake!

And a wee close up, cause see the snowflake just like scrapbooking they have eidable glitter - gosh I LOVE this stuff!  Glitter is my new best friend lol.
I have also been doing a little card making but it is not finished so that will have to come in the next post - maybe if I can pull myself away from this cake decorating. 
Tomorrow night the guild met and we get to make something else, maybe Santa or a christmas fairy - wonder what it will be?
What are your traditions about when you can eat your christmas cake?
Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping bye!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Cookies

Today I have been playing again, I found this recipe for Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Cookies and MAN they are yummy!  I am sorry but I cant remember where I got this one from but the original came from allrecipes.
I have adapted it a little from there and will put the recipe up here for you because these are a yummy Christmas treat!
Here is a look at what they look like:

But they taste so much more than they look!
1 cup Butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (add one extra teaspoon if using essence)
1 teaspoon peppermint essence
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy canes (now at the warehouse)


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and peppermint essence.
Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat again.
Now chill the dough after wrapping it in glad wrap for about an hour, then using two sheets of baking paper roll the cookie dough out in between the sheets and take off the top sheet and cut the dough with a cookie cutter of your choice of shape and cook on about 170 for about 15 min or until the cookies are brown around the edges.  When they are cool dip half the cookie in melted chocolate (white, brown or dark) and sprinkle a little more of the crushed peppermint canes over the cookie.

And you are done!  Easy and delicious :-)

Thanks for stopping bye!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Scrap room & Kitchen!

Hi there

Well finally I have made it into my scrap room, I have done a canvas for a friend who has helped me,he wouldn't accept any payment, so instead sent me his wedding picture to scrap.  Not that he has any idea what scrapping is!
The canvas is meant to be red and I might yet rip off the scrapping and paint it red as with the Distress inks I just couldn't get it to go red enough.  They live in Australia and trying to get a colour scheme or idea out of a bloke is really hard work!  I rang his mum in the end and decided on red but it really looks pink. Anyway here it is:
I just hope that they will like it?
Also I have been playing in the kitchen again, the family is complaining because I bake to much, I need to find a rest home that will let me at there ingredients and kitchen for a day and I could try all the recipe's that I want and hopefully get the "trying" things out of my system!
Here was a couple that I did last weekend, this is a Black Forest Brownie, you guessed it made with a cake of Black Forest chocolate, very rich but the kids loved it!

Then I wanted to make these lemon curd meringue cupcakes and they were YUMMY!
The kids and hubby didn't like them so I gave them away, but mum, dad and myself liked them very much!
And this weekend my new book "crabapple cupcake" arrived so i tried the Vanilla recipe with the chocolate fudge icing, i saw a technique on the Internet where you split your batter and colour it (i did chocolate) and then layer it in your cupcake - so what the heck, gave that i try and this was the result:

 The kids thought i was a genius lol - short lived by the way.  Their verdict on these was "ok" but we prefer the normal recipe!
So these are heading off to work and to mum and dad for the second opinion!
But am sure they will also head off in the lunch boxes as well!
Well that's it for me, nothing else to report!
Hope you all have a fantastic week and thanks so much for stopping bye :-)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Playing in the Kitchen again!

What a weekend this one has been.  I was making cupcakes for Bo's daughters 13th birthday party and it was the biggest DISASTER I have ever had in the kitchen and to top it off hubby was in there taste testing and asking me what I did wrong and did I put all the ingredients in?  Then he thinks it needs more butter (there is NO way it needed more butter) please imagine someone who does not really bake much taste testing and making suggestions - I held my cool very well, whilst making faces at Natasha (the birthday girl!) so I put more flour in and tried to cook one again and bearing in mind this is a triple batch!  Nope still no good, so 4 mixtures later, two cakes of chocolate and I figure out that instead of putting in two thirds of a cup of sugar i was putting in one and two thirds.
Now to my defense I have been struggling with sleep for months and I even when to the doctors last week for some sleeping pills which didn't work, so my head has not been clear - so I will blame the lack of sleep!
But in the end we got there (this photo was taken off Tarsh face book page - thanks Tarsh)

I did however want to have a play with a Chocolate cake wrap (the love hearts around the cake) so I made this:
I had also brought a pen of sorts so I used that and make the butterfly's and the words out of coloured white chocolate.  I was a bit impatient (I know so not like me lol) and took the cake wrap off a bit early so the wrap was not as shiny as it should have been.  But with Chocolate gnache in between the layers all over the cake and then chocolate around it how wrong can it be lol.

Abby went to school dressed as a ninja - she just dressed in stuff we had had home but I thought she did a good job, will have to get back to scrappin and scrap this:
Well that's about it from me - go the mighty All Blacks for later tonight, and I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

Thanks for stopping bye!


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Another Week gone!

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend?

Now before I start I would like to tell you a bit more about The Creative Cake Academy in the UK.  This was the last post where I made these:
I have been very fortunate to have Ann the wonderful lady from The Creative Cake Academy ask me if there was anything that they could do in there instructions to make it easier - and apart from the yes please - just hop on a plane and pop over answer, there were only a couple of little things that I suggested and Ann didn't think I was thick and popped them into the instructions.
And apart from getting all the instructions, detailed list of materials and wonderful links to U tube tutorials to help you, you also can e-mail them direct with any questions and trust me - they are super quick to get back to you with an answer.
I would highly recommend this as a way to not only make lovely cupcakes but a great way to learn extra skills.
And if you are a visual person (like me) there are some fantastic pictures and the u-tube tutorials that will help you through the workshop along with the great instructions!

Now my daughter saw some cookie monster cupcakes on the Internet and I left her to it and this is what she came up with:
 lol I think the swirl ones are because she got sick of piping the dots, but i thought she did really well.
I also made some cupcakes as a trial run - got a birthday party to make for, for this weekend, can't give them a new recipe if I haven't tried it!
Cookies and Cream cupcakes!  I got the recipe from Bakerella blog and have been wanting to try them for some time, now confession time - I missed out the milk from the batter but I think it just made it more like a chocolate cake and a little less "light" so the Oreo cookies that are in the bottom of the cupcake didn't rise to the surface when I cooked them like hers did - but hey they still tasted pretty good.
Here is a picture:

Janine and I ran the Lovelock memorial "fun" (yeah right!) 10km run on Saturday - now my prerequisite was it was not allowed to be hot, no wind and prefer no rain but I can run in the rain!  Poor Janine was not feeling well and at one stage i didn't think she was going to be able to continue but we did the run in 57 mins so I was pretty happy with that, and pleased to have it over as it was a warm strong nor-wester blowing and it was a hilly route!
Today I did part of the garden and boy do i hate gardening - man I need a Gardner, we also went for a walk and it was FAR to hot - here is where I was thank full we were not running in that heat today!

Well that's about it for me, hope you all had a great relaxing weekend and are ready to face the last week of term for all you teachers and kids out there.

Have a happy week and thanks for stopping bye.

Take care

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Long Weekend :-)

South Canterbury Anniversary weekend - YAY and to be honest it couldn't have come at a better time - I am ready for a break.

Yesterday Jo and I did an at home class that we brought from the UK from a place called The creative Cake Academy, it was a cupcake course.  We decided to throw the instructions away and just go off the picture and we had to make some adjustments as we didn't have all the cutters that we needed!
So this is what we made:
and a couple of close ups but don't look to close lol

So these little beauties took us 5 hours to make all the flowers are hand made and its hard to see but we even used the cuttlebug embossing folders to emboss some of the icing.  Now the thing is that these need to be eaten now - they recommend you eat them 12 to 24 hours after making them.  So feel free to come visit for a cuppa!

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for popping by!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Barefoot and bakng!

Time flys - i seem to be saying that with every post but seriously it just whizzes by!

I have made another card using the cute digi image from wee stamps and the amazing Sylvia Zet
I just love her digi's they are so cute and so darn easy to buy!

I have also finally finished a card that i started at Raincliff for my Aunty's birthday:
I didn't take a photo of the one that I did for Aunty Cicley (camp auntie for those of you that remember her from camp) but here is the cake that I made for her "surprise birthday" and it was a surprise she didn't stop shaking for nearly an hour bless her:
Then on Wednesday this week, Jo and I went to a class to learn to cover cakes properly so it would look like a pro here is Jo with her cake = that she brought from Copland's the wee cheat!
I really enjoyed the class - it was just Jo, myself and the instructor nice and easy going.

Today I have been up since 6.00 am making 3 dozen of these
Bronwyn's favourite Cinnamon oysters - yummy and I didn't even eat one .................yet lol.
These are for my first "sale" I was asked to make a cake for a 21st and also the Cinnamon oysters, so Jo's lovely husband made me a stand as I had an idea in my head what i wanted to do and good ole dad painted it for me.
One three layered chocolate cake with chocolate gnache in between the layers and covering the cake, and a fantastic moist recipe for chocolate cupcakes with either a square of peppermint or caramel chocolate in the middle and 40 handmade painted butterfly's and a 21 on wire - 7 hours or more of work baking last night and today and this was the end result:
while I was letting my fingers do the walking I found these cool chocolate moulds for cupcakes and while I ended up not using them as they didn't colour up all that well they are such a cool idea and I will look a little further into the colouring of them and try again but how cool are they - they have a point on the end that stick's into the cupcake and leave the image sitting nicely on the top!

Don't mind the smudge of the pink icing - got too close to the butterfly's!

Now after all the baking and the early morning I have been for a 10k run so think I will go and have a well deserved Nana nap now!

have a great weekend everyone!  Thanks for stopping bye!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Not such a great Weekend!

Not such a great weekend for me - think i might have just had my very first (and lets hope very last) migraine!
I headed out to Raincliff for the bi annual Embellish It Scrap camp but to be honest was not feeling that well on Friday.  I went to bed on Friday night with a headache and just didn't get rid of it until 9am this morning.
So I have spent today going from the couch to bed, back to the couch - getting some energy to do something and after 5 min back to the couch - so not exactually the weekend I was hoping for (Nigel brought me home on Saturday afternoon) but here is hoping that it is onward and upward!
On the up side Nigel did all the cooking, groceries etc today while I watched from the couch lol.

I have some more crafty stuff to show you though - last week was my mum's birthday so when I saw this image from Mo Manning, I just had to get it as mum LOVES giraffe's:

Then the next day it was Anne's birthday so Bo made the card and I made the box and the cupcake and along with a nice bag of coffee we sent this up to Anne :-)  She Loves Elephants - could you guess?
 Stunning job on the card Bo - sorry the photo is not that great - but we can take it out of the photo below so you will have it on "file"   ;-)

Complete with an icing elephant on the top~!
And while I was making the cupcakes I decided to have a bit of a practise run on a cake, I have to make one for a girls 21st in September and one for the "surprise 70th" for my auntie!  This was just a test run - happy enough with the roses but got to get the cake a bit more down to pat!
I used edible glitter on the roses which looked quite good!  The family enjoyed the cake and loved the practise run - more than happy for me to give it another go - they didn't quite think that I had it right!
It is a yummy chocolate cake with mock cream in the middle just to break up the height of the cake.
The icing was one of Wilton's recipes with Meringue powder, vegetable shortening, vanilla and icing sugar - it was quite nice - when you bite into it is very soft on the inside but still holds it's form on the cake nicely :-)
Jo and I brought some Meringue powder in from overseas as it is $29.00 at Ballentynes.  Have a couple of containers left and selling for $16.50 if anyone wants to try it?

Right that's it from me nearly all caught up now (that's what happens when you spend a creative weekend sleeping instead!).

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great week!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Catch up!

Wow the weeks just keep flying by!

Here are a few things that i have been up to lately.

Jayne, Callum and Piper came for tea a couple of weekends ago and so I decided to have a play and made chocolate cups and filled them with chocolate mousse.  The mousse recipe is Cadburys and it is very yummy.  I also piped swirls and put them on the cups. I made a flower for piper she was SO funny didn't want to eat the mousse but after watching Jayne eat some decided to give it a go, and with a nod of her head saying yeap not so bad she dug in!

So cute!  I remember those days with my own like it was yesterday!
Speaking of which - Abby turned 14 a couple of weeks ago too!  That's my baby!
I made her a cake which didn't photograph very well it looked so much better in real life and the girls all loved it so that's all that mattered but here is look at that:

It didn't quite turn out how I was expecting (the roses were a little big but were all made of chocolate) I was hoping to pipe on the swirls but have you tried to make black icing- and I didn't want to put so much colour in that it was not able to be eaten, I even started with Chocolate icing but alas it was not meant to be!
Jo and I have decided to put our hand to making some flowers and butterfly's out of flower paste - well the flowers are not photographed and to be honest look more like cabbages - well mine did lol.  But our butterfly's turned out ok here is a look at them:
ok so the one on the left i broke and you can see it stuck together with icing - but hey they looked pretty good as the paint (all eatable) is glittery and pretty!

And on the crafting front here is a card that I made with Wee Stamps new release she is called wee florist and SO cute:

Also I with the help of Jo I have made some invites for my aunty's surprise 70th coming up - these suckers took quite a lot of time to make - thanks so much Jo for all your help!

Well that's enough from me!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and if you are still with me have a great week.

Catch ya