Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Easter Tree!

Not long now until Easter!!! Only 4 more sleeps until that Easter Bunny pays us a visit!!

I love that Easter is becoming another excuse for us crafters to decorate the house with handmade pretties!!

Easter in my place is all about family (and crafting!!). We enjoy getting together with the extended family and having a big catch-up over a meal. We have more recently began some traditions too. 
Seven  or so years ago, when my biggest boy was a bub, we started the tradition of visiting the zoo. We now go once a year, every Easter. And about 3 years ago we started having an Easter tree. (click here for last years Easter Blog post) 
Usually I use a branch from a gum tree, but this year I am putting my Great Yarn Bomb project to good use and using that.

How do you and your family celebrate Easter? Will you be having an Easter Tree too? 

Easter Crafting

Here's a really easy Easter Craft!

I used ribbon to wrap around the eggs - but you could very easily use Washi Tape. (But that's an obsession that I am not yet ready to have!!)

Monday, 25 March 2013

Sculptures by the Sea

For the last few years now I have been wanting to visit the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition in Cottesloe. This weekend we finally got around to doing it - and it happened to be the last day!
There was over 70 exhibits with artists being local, interstate and international. The artworks were spread out throughout the beach, foreshore and jetty. Totally Amazing!!
I thought I would share with you some of my favourite pieces.
I apologise for not noting down the sculptures names - it was crazy busy!!
I just love this one (above). It was hundreds of toys suspended in the air. It was so bright and interesting. I like to think that it has inspired a whole new range of "threats" for mothers - "clean up your toys or I'll hang them from a tree". ( I might be using this one later!!)

I'm a bit bummed that I couldn't get a pic of these  three "swimmers" together. They were so popular and had heaps of people posing with them. All my shots ended up with photo-bombers!

This piece was awesome. It was made from bamboo with little fans/propellers on top that caught the wind. This then produced a beautiful singing sound. Such a lovely piece as each bamboo pole represented a life lost in the Bali Bombings.

And finally this one was my kids favourite. After all who couldn't love a giant conducting skeleton perched high above the beach? It was pretty cool. And pretty huge!
I am so glad I was able to see the exhibit. It was really inspiring. Looking forward to next years one now!!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Hot Crossed Buns!

Well it's definitely been a busy week here in the Nicnax kitchen! Today was my first attempt at Hot Crossed Buns!
I'm not sure exactly where I got the recipe from as it was one of those handwritten 'I'll have to make this one day' recipes!! Every time I go into my recipe folder I see it- so today was the day to try it out.

Now I will admit that it was very messy and the dough was very sticky! And with all the resting time ( the buns not me) it took quite a while - definitely not one for just 'whipping up a batch'!!
But in the end they turned out OK. Next time I will add a bit more spice. And my crosses turned out invisible- but they are there I promise!!

So if you would like to try the recipe, here it is -

Dough Ingredients -
1 tsp yeast
1/4 cup sugar ( I used brown)
4 cups flour (I used bread flour)
1.5 cups warm milk
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp mixed spice ( next time I will probably use 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (next time I will use 1 tsp of this too)
60g butter
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sultanas or choc chips

Cross ingredients
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup water
+ 2 tsp cocoa powder if making chocolate crosses

- mix the yeast and a pinch of sugar to the warm milk
- allow to sit covered for 10 mins (for yeast to start to activate)
- add softened butter and egg yolk and mix
- add remaining dough ingredients and mix until a ball of dough
- place into a greased bowl and place covered in to a dark place for 45-60mins - I use the microwave.
- once it has risen about x2 of its original size, empty out onto a floured bench.
- knead for about a minute
- (this is the messy part) separate into individual portions and shape into small balls
- place on a baking tray
- cover and leave again for about 10-20 mins
- preheat your oven to 190 deg

- prepare cross mixture by mixing all ingredients together to form a paste.
- use a piping bag or similar to + the buns
- bake for approximately 25 mins

Then eat up!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

No Cook Playdough

My little Miss is growing up so fast! She is 14 months already!
I like to think that I'm doing the right thing by her, being a stay at home mum. Obviously it means I can do more things with her and offer her more than I could with my boys as I was juggling work, kids, home duties, study etc.
But I kinda had a "bad mum" moment the other day after a discussion at school with some other mums. I realised that she hasn't yet had the pleasure of playing and creating with Playdough!
I have to admit that Playdough is NOT one of my favourite things. I can't stand the smell or the thought of someone eating it!
But that being said I don't want to deprive my kids of something just because I don't like it! I used to make it quite often with the boys.
One of the things the mums were talking about was the 'buying' vs 'making' Playdough. I tend to prefer making it myself. This way I can add scented oils to try to hide the smell! I've also added things like glitter and sand to make it a bit different!

So I whipped up a batch and divided it into three colours.
And yes it was a success! Little Miss Z LOVED playing with it. Even the boys came over and had a little creative session (making spiky-echidna-monsters).
Here's the recipe I use. It's a no-cook recipe - so the kids can help to make it!
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
1 Tbsp cream of tartare
1/2 to 1 cup of warm (not hot) water
1 tbsp oil
food colouring
- mix together the flour, cream of tartare and salt
- add the oil and approximately 2 drops of food colouring to the water
- make a well in the dry ingredients
- slowly add the water mix to the dry ingredients
- keep stirring until it forms a soft dough
** if mixture becomes sticky just add more flour
** dough can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days.
Have fun!!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Easy Peasey Icecream

This is the most easiest Ice cream recipe EVER!! And so, so yummy! And you don't even need an ice cream maker!!

Here's the recipe :

375ml condensed milk
300ml cream
1 cup milk
6 crushed Oreo biscuits**

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Mix with electric beaters until mixture starts to bubble.
Place covered in freezer for about an hour.
Mix again with electric beaters for a few moments.
Continue to freeze over night or until set.

** change flavour of ice cream by replacing Oreo biscuits with :
Choc bits
2 tsp espresso coffee
Crushed 'Crunchy' chocolate bar

This ice cream is very sweet so I like to put them in a silicon muffin mould after mixing for the second time. It's a good way to control everyones portions too! ( and helps to make it last a bit longer!)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Off to market!

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it's off to market I go........

Yes market time again!! A new market for me this month! This time The Glades Arts and Produce Market! This one was great as it was an afternoon / night event!

There was an atmosphere around that was just fantastic!! My stall was located in quite a dangerous position though - a food van next to us (dinner), ice cream van opposite (desert), coffee behind (to keep us going), fresh popcorn being popped a few stalls down (always yum) and mini cupcakes not far from us either!! TOO MUCH FOOD!!!!
And every time the breeze picked up, a different and delicious aroma would head in our direction and make us hungry again!!
As I said - a dangerous location!!

There was also a band who played all night, face painting for the kids, bouncy castle, kids craft activities and a super special guest..........


It was really a great night out - and as a bonus I almost sold out of my owls!!


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Echo's Story!

Hello friends!
Well it has been a very busy and exciting long weekend here at our place! We've caught up with friends, driven to the country to see family,  the boys went golfing (Mr 5 absolutely loved that... but that's a whole other post...) and finally and most excitingly is the arrival of our newest family member....  I am pleased to introduce you to ECHO.

Image from Desperate for Love Facebook page
Echo is a 6 month old Staffy cross. We found her through an organisation called "Desperate for Love Dog Pound Rescue".  These are a fantastic group of people who go to all the local pounds and save the doggies that are about to meet the end.
As they don't have a shelter to operate from, the rescued dogs are "fostered" out to homes around Perth. From there they advertise through Facebook to find new homes. Whilst they are in care, the pooches are made healthy, vaccinated and sterilised, before being re-homed.
Echo, along with her mum, dad and sister had been taken to the pound as their owner could no longer care for them due to his "Fly in/ fly out" job.

Whilst in Foster care, Echo had to have an operation on her knee for an injury she had. This wonderful group (D4L) fund raised and paid for this op, and to see her running around now, you would never know that an injury even existed.
I like to considered her life being saved twice, many would have chosen to not operate, as they just don't have the funds for it.
I would like to take the opportunity in this post to publicly thank everybody involved in Echos rescue and in making her fit and healthy for our family.

We are completely in love with our new family member, and cant wait for all the fun we will have together.
If you would like to help Desperate for Love Dog Rescue raise funds to enable them to save more dogs, please see there facebook page for Donation Details by clicking here