Thursday, December 16, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The last few months have been busy with my daughters's 12th birthday, mum's visit, end of school performances, assemblies, graduation night (not our year, the year above us, though one of my two was co-hosting/presenting the evening), end of year parties, etc... But a few months back, I got ready for Christmas (well, for the "Christmas presents for the teachers and staff at school"), and this is what I made (straight out of the Soap Queen's Soapdom) :
Mask used in the picture is by the lovely HeatherT (BoyOhBoy kit)
background paper by Shabby Princess (Seasonal Sampler) - I'm sure the SP is lovely too but I do not know her.
I know HeatherT! :) Lucky me! (Hi Heather! Oh Hi JulieK too being you are responsible!)

It was fun, a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but once I got the right brush, the right temperature and the right frame of mind, it wasn't so bad. I finally ended up using the soap paint in a little oil burner, you know, the ones you use with tealight candles. That worked quite well, but sometimes I had to blow out the candle, and re-light it a bit later as it would make the soap a bit too hot. I don't suggest adding TiO2 as I found it made the paint milky and this was not the effect I was after, but for pastel colours it would probably be a welcome addition. I scented those with Champagne, simply because I love that Brambleberry Fragrance (which I get from here in Australia).

I have also delved into the dark side and made a few digital scrapbooking pages! Mostly from kits from my friend HeatherT. She sells at two shops, all details are on her blog. I might post some of my creations, one day.

In the meantime I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that there's only one year of primary school left for my two little ones, who are not so little anymore. One of them is 5cm shorter than me, the other, only three!!! I better start buying platform shoes!

Until next time I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I tried it, it's fun!

Hi all! I tried the paper embed soaps, like Anne-Marie (and SoapyLove Deb) did.

Below are three I got right, still trying to get the hang of it. They will be used for raffle baskets at (one of) my daughter's gymnastics competition on the weekend. I scented them with Yuzu but to save me some grief I only scented the white part.

Clipart from TopEndSport used with permission

I bought my paper from Thread Studio in Perth (Dale) but if you're in the "Americas", you can get it from BrambleBerry.

You can find tutorials on how to work with water with this video, or by reading a few illustrated tutorials (illustrated: with pictures) such as the latest tutorial by SoapyLove Deb, cute I *heart* soap moulds used by SoapyLove Deb, Father's Day soaps, single use soaps and if you want to make a bigger soap.

Thanks so much Deb, Anne-Marie (and your crew) for all the wonderful inspirations you bring us!!

So much fun, and the possibilities are only limited by your imagination! Off to try and use the new tip Deb suggested today "Spray hardened soap in molds with alcohol and pour another thin layer of soap on top. Place paper, image side down, into the soap and pour another thin layer of soap on top. Use a chopstick or craft stick to press image down flat. Smooth all corners down. Allow to harden." and see if I can get rid of the fog and clouds I got in some of the other soaps... Nice to create again.

UPDATE: Soaps ready to go, using some of HeatherT's lovely digi-scrapping papers from Play Sweet and Button Speak, which I used in Xara Xtreme Pro,
and of course a pic of my little gymnast :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

For when I have time on my hands

A list of very cute ideas, just might get around to the koala bookmark soon though because it's just too cute: Wee Folk Art (again, just putting this here so I can find it again when I need it. I couldn't find the spot to "follow" them!). This one too has nice stuff.

Oh, and while I'm here, this is a very interesting post from Anne-Marie from Brambleberry/SoapQueen... "Building blocks of your reputation" - let's just say I'm glad some of the Yahoo!Groups' information/messages is private. ;-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm selling some stamps

' I love Picasa...
it's easy to use, and it is fun, and I'm even blogging from it. All this to let you know I'm selling some stamps (somehow 30 rocks "imma snitting next to barpo" comes to mind, undoubtedly mis-quoted!)....

Yes, it's sad but I have LOTS of stamps (that is not the sad part) but I have to get rid of some. I have not used many of them in a long time. I'm keeping some, many actually, but I've started listing some I have to part with on my Picasa album. here: So if you are into rubber stamping, go have a look. International postage is always a bit dear, but some of those stamps are bargains, and the more you buy, the more you save!!! If you want to check out Australia Post's rates you can do so here:
I hope you like my new-look-blog, got tired of the old one (after a few years, ya know...) and I love the new customisable templates Blogger now offers.

Ok, off to feed the little family now.
[STAMPS UNAVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER DUE TO BOX BEING PUT IN SHED DURING RELATIVE'S VISIT, but if you want something, let me know, just don't be in a rush to get it ;)]
thanks for looking!
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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Banoffee Pie is a Sometimes Food

As is Toblerone Cheesecake. I don't know what it is, perhaps the onset of Winter, but I've felt like baking, not that I've found a stash of "free time" anywhere, and when I do I'll tell you how it works, but I've baked...
I made scones a few nights ago for morning tea the next day, and oops, read 250 gr of butter instead of 175 gr, and also when measuring the sugar, I thought I was being clever measuring it by weight and just pouring from the large bag, and well, I put in more than I should have, and couldn't recover any as it was a bit blended with the flour!! But I ended up with pretty nice scones, a one-off never to be made again. I've since found a recipe calling for a lot less butter (even without my mistake), and after I tried it once I'll see if I can sub some of the butter with apple sauce.

So, the other week, browsing I found a recipe for Toblerone Cheesecake from the Philadephia Cream Cheese site. I didn't take a picture of my pie, but it was nice!!! Really nice. I made mine with half Light and half regular cream cheese, and used Xylitol instead of sugar. Minor changes, but unnoticeable and every little bit is better than nothing at all. If you don't have ground almonds, I suggest using more cookie crumbs, or coconut, or ground "other nuts" that you like.

Then I decided to finally try something I've been wanting to do for ages: boil a tin of Condensed Milk. It's easy. I've been warned it's dangerous and all but if you stay nearby and watch it, and make sure it doesn't boil dry and that the tin is always covered, it works. I'll do it again (but be warned, it can be dangerous!). I made a Banoffee pie with it... what is a Banoffee pie you ask, well it's a Banana-Toffee pie (also seen as Banoffi Pie, but I prefer the Portemanteau look of banoffee). Apparently made in Australia the first time.
I made up my own recipe as I didn't have everything every recipe needed...

The night before, while making dinner and up until finishing the dishes I boiled a tin of Sweetened Condensed Milk. I didn't use the "light" version because I thought for the first time better try with the real thing. So I used a deep enough pot, boiled water, put the can in (actually I put in the can while the water was still not too hot) on its side, and boiled, and then let boil for 2 hours adding water whenever the level was getting too low. You shouldn't really have any part of the can exposed. When that was done I put mine in the fridge after it had cooled down some, because I wasn't sure I could do the pie the next day, but I had to warm up the caramel. I really should have stuck the tin in warm water for a while, while I made the crust or something. But I'll know better next time!

I made a crust using:
1 pack of Chocolate Ripple cookies, crumbed (and since we ate a couple, I ended up with 225 gr of cookie crumbs to which I added 25 grams of coconut - I stick the cookies in the blender and pulverise them)
125 gr of butter, melted

Add melted butter to the cookie crumbs and press in the bottom of a spring form mould. I always line the bottom of mine with baking paper. I need a 20cm (8") mould but all I have is a bigger one, so your pie is thicker or not depending on your mould.

Stick that in the fridge for about an hour.

When that's cool enough, slice bananas (most recipes say 2, I used 3 as my pan is big, and I wanted the bottom to be covered). I just made sure there were bananas almost everywhere and that I didn't see too much of the crust. Then you pour your caramel over that, spread around a bit, and refrigerate again. Mine was still a bit stiff, so it didn't spread everywhere but frankly, it did not matter :)

Whip 300 ml of whipping cream when the caramel has cooled (I'd say half an hour ought to be enough, unless your caramel is still quite warm when you pour it on top of the bananas, then you should probably wait 1 hour)... and top that pie... I added a dusting of Cacao because I thought it would look nicer. I put it back in the fridge for a bit, while we ate dinner.

I find running a plastic knife, or a spatula, around the edge of the cake helps when removing the circular bit of the spring form mould. I don't like using a real knife because I don't want to scratch the mould!!

Anyway, a really fun dessert to make, and it was nicer than I'd imagined it would be, and quite simple when you think about it (time consuming, but only because of all the boiling and cooling). Don't know when I'll make it again but it would be a nice summer dessert (provided it doesn't sit in the sun for long!)

So, ingredient recap:
1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (our tins are 395 gr, they used to be 400 gr I think)

125 gr butter
250 gr cookie crumbs (use whatever you like, digestive, scotch fingers, etc) or 225 gr cookie crumbs and 25 gr dessicated coconut

2-3 bananas
300 ml whipping cream (if you like the whipped toppings, no reason you can't use that)

optional: Cacao or cocoa for dusting, or shaved chocolate, or whatever will make it look pretty to your eyes.
 * * * * *

There's another way for making the caramel filling if the idea of boiling a tin scares you:

Caramel filling

1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
70g (1/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
50g butter
To make caramel filling, place condensed milk, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 10-12 minutes or until caramel thickens (do not boil).

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Spreading the Soapy Love

This photo is not mine, it is ©soapylove and used here to promote a fun giveaway to spread her Soapy Love check it out!
Debbie is from San Diego (I had friends there in a previous life, Laura for one, and a few people I worked with, never been though). She is a Melt and Pour Soap Artist, she does wonderful things, shares her knowledge and sells gorgeous soaps too. Go have a look, if only for the eye candy value, and if you're a soaper, wash her back too. This is all to promote her latest issue of Let's Get Soapy.

as for me, I made more half egg soaps last night for the girls at work, made half "Chocolate (AussieCandleSupplies)" and half "Passion Fruit Rose (BrambleBerry), they all smelled so nice, and I had a bit of soap left from each so I have a marble soap for us at home!

I plan on catching up on my sleep this weekend :) a looong weekend! Yay!!!

Cheers and if you are going to have chocolate, enjoy it!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Food stuff in MP soap

I'm using Picasa to find some pictures I can't locate on my HDD (don't you just hate when that happens?), and I came across this picture I had taken from a book for a recipe I really wanted to try (beats writing it down and realising I can't read my handwriting, which used to be quite OK, but not so much since I'm using computers so much... which could bring up a whole 'nother topic where a friend told me they don't teach cursive writing, aka running writing, in schools anymore as kids don't write anymore.... that is just insane... but going back to my soap.....) and I made it, and it was gorgeous, and a few weeks later, the girls are washing their hands and one comes to me and says "mummy, i just washed my hands and they smell like vomit", so I figure she's exaggerating again, doesn't like the new FO I used, or what not (kids have the funniest comments sometimes)... so she makes me smell her hands, and it was FOUL! her hands DID smell like some sour milk.... and well, I went and smelled my beautiful looking soap (as per the recipe in the picture to the left) and it was absolutely dis-gus-ting..... I guess the moral of the story is beware what food stuff you put in MP soap as it's not the same as CP soap and can go off...

Now if anyone knows of a way my soap wouldn't have gone rancid with the whipping cream, please enlighten me.

Anyway, it's not just because a book was written and published that what's in it is has been tried and tested. I remember people on a soap forum mentioning a book where the person is showing new soapers how to make soap and tells them to pour the water into the lye.... That is dangerous beyond words. How books like that get published is just negligent.

My 2 cents while I go back to look for the darned pics I lost ;)

Cheers! (below is the pic of the lovely "Tiramisu" soap I'd made with the recipe with cream... looked nice!)
note: I should probably add that this was one of the first soaps I made, about a year and a half ago... coming across the picture reminded me of the story... so I thought I'd put out a little reminder/heads up.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

what's keeping me busy this weekend

Other than the farting around hubby and I have had to do with his car, and with his work, etc... this blog post is what I'm doing to keep my sanity this weekend...

BUT FIRST, this is what happened to hubby's spare tyre a while back (now before you think I can't spell, that's how tire is spelled in Australia, and I always think Canadian Tyre wouldn't have looked strange. This was part of our weekend as well...

things that make you go hmmm...
The guy at the tyre shop where we went this morning says in hot weather (it happened on one of the heat record days we've had this Summer) he sees a couple such explosions every week from 4WD type cars! Hmmm, interesting.

Anyway, hubby thought his front wheels needed aligning, so the car is at the tyre shop, and lo and behold, one of the front tires is causing the wobbling, and the cause of the wobbling is the same thing (for lack of the technical term because I cannot remember it) that caused the spare tyre to blow up... and would have done the same in a matter of ..... days!!!!! Imagine that!

So we may have saved hubby's life by getting it fixed sooner rather than too-late!!!!

But the fact that his car is unsafe to drive is causing a bunch of scheduling conflicts (oh the busy life we lead when we have children!), which I won't bore you with... some days/weeks seem like nothing will go quite right. What I wouldn't give for a week to be so perfect that it would be boring!!!!! Not just with hubby and the cars, but with all the melo dramas caused by life in general!!


Anyway, after reading SoapyLove's Debbie's tutorial for cup cake soaps, seeing the video (below)by the Soap Queen was very exciting, and I'm in the midst of trying this project:

How to make Soap Cupcakes with Whipped Frosting from Soap Queen on Vimeo.

The cupcake portions are setting right now. Can't wait to try the whipped soap for the frosting! Anne-Marie told me (via her Soap Queen blog, and she checked with Debbie) that I can use bubble bath base, which is great because I just got a bunch at Aussie Soap Supplies. I find it makes a great addition to a present basket (see further below) when you add a bit of pearliser, fragrance, and I always like to add a teeny bit of Shampoo Ultra Thick in there, to thicken the bubble bath.

I was at our local The Reject Shop earlier today looking for Easter trinkets (after seeing a doco on ABC or SBS called "Fakes" I don't want to buy chocolate at those places anymore - too afraid they are bad fakes, but I'm happy to buy their trinkets) and I came across these silicon moulds:
Photo for Blog
They had mini ones as well but I knew if I got the little ones I'd use them for chocolate and gobble them all up, so I dind't get them, but gosh they were cute!!

So I used some Organic MP Base and scented it with Chocolate Milk FO from Aussie Candle Supplies, and coloured with some brown (rich brown oxide dispersion from Aussie Soap Supplies and Cappuccino Mica also from Aussie Soap Supplies). Will show off a picture when they are set.


Speaking of gift baskets (well, I did mention it somewhat above when talking about bubble bath base)... This was the latest gift basket effort for a 21st. I made the labels using one of HeatherT's digi kits Little Miss Muffet. The theme was largely Strawberry based, but not all was coloured perfectly (the soap in the front is a loofah soap, and the mica I used wasn't quite strawberry red, but I try to play with what I have) but I tried to keep in the pink/red theme... I had to get some tea too when I saw that package, as it looked so luxurious!!

Below is us three (me and my two not-so-little-anymore girls)
India's 21st us and present
1. Ready for our first 21st, 2. 21st Birthday Basket, 3. 21st Birthday Basket wrapped up
and below are our henna tattoos. Mine was taken one day later, the girls' were taken as soon as they removed the henna. DD2 had a bit of a reaction to hers, it made her very itchy and they were both looking forward to removing them. I put lemon on mine after an hour or so but scraped it off before bed. Mine lasted just under a week, the girls's just over a week.

and finally I have unloaded pictures from my camera... and I present some of the Tie Dye that kept us busy during two very hot days over Christmas.
My creation
1. Tie Dye Fun - Tank Top by DD2, 2. Tie Dye Fun - Tank Top by DD1, 3. Tie Dye Fun - bag by me
Created with
fd's Flickr Toys

Well, this is what happens when you keep getting interrupted, things happen in the background the day ends, and I am now able to present you with little cup cakes, but you'll have to wait a bit for the chocolate egg soaps.


Hope you like them. I'm really happy with the way they turned out! Now to think of a clever tag or sticker so kids (who may win the raffle) don't take a big bite... this might be a problem :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yes I'm still around

been busy, made soap, girls and I did tye die and I have pictures, but no time. soon. soon.