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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baby Jake

I have decided from now on I will blog all the taggies I complete via Sweet Ollie Boutique. Here is my latest taggy for baby Jake.

Happy Tuesday everyone

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fun Friday - colour me Easter


Here is a belated Easter activity I did with my boys. Well the big one participated while destruct-o-Kong watched from his high chair! Always best with a nick name like that when there are eggs involved! He didn't mind!!

This activity was perfect timing as we were needing a salad to take to a friends for dinner and as I only had the doings for a fairly boring one, these eggs were just the thing to liven it up.

It is really easy. First boil the amount of eggs you wish to colour.

Then (and this is the fun part) break the shell of the egg so the food colouring will get through, but not so much that the shell comes off. I think we broke some too much, hence a few spots of solid colour rather than the crack lines. Not bad for a 3 year old though I must say.

When you are done cracking the shell, put a teaspoon of vinegar and some food die in a plastic bag with your eggs and refrigerate for half an hour.

Then simply peel of the shell to reveal the colours on your eggs! Our red one is my favourite.

These were fun to eat too. Our friends kids told us they even tasted like real eggs! Now fancy that hey!!! Lol My boys even ate some egg which doesn't usually happen.

Hope you enjoy your Friday, and have a great weekend with the kids making fabulous memories



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to make hot cross buns: healthy vs traditional

So I said I would try and keep up with my tutorial Tuesdays! Well...this isn't so much a tutorial as a picture of each step of me making Hot Cross Buns for Easter. Sometimes it is easier to do things and know your on the right track when you can see what it should look like.

I also wanted to compare healthy versus traditional. I was only going to make these healthy Hot Cross Buns but my dear husband said he felt like he was missing out on the "good" stuff because who makes hot cross buns with oats?It is funny what we train our mind to believe is the "good"stuff! Just because its not bad for you, doesn't mean it is not good. I decided to put to the test, a side by side comparison, of whether we would have been missing out!


HERE is where you will find the recipe for Teresa Cutter's healthy hot cross buns. There are a couple of choices. I had to slightly improvise, I didn't have enough almond meal and I didn't have wholemeal flour so I just used gluten free and it seemed to do the trick.

Combine dry ingredients

Add egg

Add milk, vanilla and honey


Allow to rise. I found this part really exciting. Ive only made bread in a bread maker so Ive never been as involved in this part of the process before. Its fun because your waiting to see if it will rise how it should and how big it is going to get.
Then knock back the dough. I googled this bit, lol. Basically jab the dough with your hands

Roll into balls

Set aside to rise again

And viola!!

These were actually REALLY yummy! The only issue was I realised my tablespoon was actually only a half tablespoon for my yeast!!! So I'm guessing they should have risen half as much again. Instead mine were a bit biscuit like!!! Didn't stop it tasting good though.

And now it was time for the Traditional Hot cross buns. If I can say anything, it would be don't do both of these batches on the same day. Whoa! Very VERY time consuming with the rising times.

So the recipe for these ones I got off a friend so I have no idea of the original source. It is as follows:

2 tablespoons dried yeast*
¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
1½ cups (375ml) warm milk
4¼ cups (635g) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g butter, melted
1 egg
¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar, extra
1½ cups (240g) sultanas
⅓ cup (55g) candied mixed peel, optional
½ cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour
⅓ cup (80ml) water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
¼ cup (60ml) water

Combine the yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl. Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface.

Never done this before either so it was a little exciting! I like making things from scratch and using new techniques. Makes me feel adventurous and like I'm achieving something! Does that make sense?!

And here I am adding in that I did not have any Castor sugar. So my tutorial (mini but one none the less)  for Tuesday is how to make Castor sugar!

You will need white sugar, measure out the required amount the recipe says for the Castor sugar. Then add to a mortar and pestle, a small amount at a time, and grind it! Viola! You have Castor sugar!! Easy hey?

Combine the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, butter, egg, extra sugar, sultanas, mixed peel and yeast mixture in a large bowl. Mix with a butter knife until a sticky dough forms. 

Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5–10 minutes or until it feels smooth and elastic when pressed. 

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place for 30–40 minutes or until doubled in size.

Lightly knead the dough again, 

divide into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Place in a 23cm-square cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. My tin wasn't quite this big so I needed a second one.

Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 25–30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200ºC (390ºF).

 To make the crosses, combine the flour and water to make a smooth paste. Place in a piping bag and pipe crosses onto the buns. 

 Bake for 30–35 minutes or until well browned and springy to touch.

To make the glaze, combine the sugar, gelatin and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Brush warm buns with the glaze and serve with butter. Makes 12.

Or you can improvise if you don't want to go to the shops (like me!) and you don't have gelatin. I used an egg wash, just slightly scrambled eggs, and brushed it over the buns before cooking them.

It is amazing who the smell of fresh Hot Cross Buns brings in. These two tiny little noses were sniffing these out and hanging around the kitchen for some time while they were cooking. Could you blame them?!

And the verdict...?

Well the Traditional ones definitely look more appealing but it was really a draw on taste. And that was coming from my husband!!! He said he would happily let me only cook the healthy version next time as he really wouldn't have "missed out"! A little extra yeast and maybe an egg wash on Teresa's version might have made them more visually appealing.

 Well thats it for me today. Drop in Friday for another Easter themed treat, a fun activity for the kids for Fun Friday.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fun Friday - "hairy" dudes made from wheat

Good morning everyone. How are you all on this fabulous Easter Friday. So here is an activity for you to be able to do with your kiddies over the weekend. Easter is a busy weekend, and if your not away this really doesnt take long. You could make these easter themed. Perhaps you could draw a bunny face!

So in keeping with the tutorial post, within which I named it Tutorial Tuesday, today is (unofficially) named Fun Friday. Since I am starting to post activities I am doing with my boys perhaps this might be a feature also. 

This is an activity that takes me back to my childhood. I really cannot remember what these are called so they shall be named hairy dudes. At school we used pantie hose or stockings but could you believe there was not a stocking insight! Either my husband has stolen them for the garden (most likely) or I have put them in that "safe place", you know the one where things are so safe you cant find them yourself? LOL I don't really wear them anyway so perhaps I threw them out.

Anyways, this is the supplies you will need. Stockings if you wish to do your face that way and fill them with seeds first then cotton wool, or containers as I have on which you can get your kiddies to draw the faces. This wheat I just got from the local supermarket.

You can put the cotton balls in any container and sprinkle the seeds. You dont have to make faces if you dont have things lying around to do them with. Or get creative!

My 20 month old enjoyed the cotton ball part the best. He didn't really understand what was happening but he had fun anyway. Hopefully he will understand a little as the wheat starts to shoot.

Cotton balls go in, TA DAAAAA, he says...

Cotton balls go out! And a cheeky face!
This is mostly what his activity consisted of which is OK. He was still having fun.

 My 3 year old drew his own face on his container and what a great job he did. It takes some skill to draw a face on a curved container when your used to drawing on paper.

He stuffed his container full of cotton balls. Pack them in tight. You may need to add more once you add the water as they may sink.

Concentration is a must!

I got them to tip the water in before adding the seeds in case they did sink, which they did so we added more cotton balls.

Then we tipped in the wheat seeds. 
I have no pics of my 20 month old doing the last two steps for obvious reasons. I had to get in and help. When I tipped the water in he felt he should be drinking it and shouted DIIINK! And when we added the seeds he shouted UUUMMMMY! Meaning he thought he should eat them! I'm sad to say that there were tears as it just isnt as much fun drinking from a drink bottle as it is from a container full of cotton balls and wheat seeds that has a face drawn on it! Yeah I guess I can see the attraction for a nearly 2 year old :-)

 Now our (soon to be) Hairy dudes take pride of place on our window sill as they need as much sun as possible. They have been moved to the bathroom now as that gets the most light and as I will see them everyday I can remind the kids to keep them wet. That is the key to this working, they must remain damp to get the wheat to germinate.

I hope you enjoyed this little activity and your kids will enjoy it too. They might even learn something. It's amazing the conversation that's occurs with children during one on one activities. Or in my case 1 on 2! They are such curious creatures and they are like sponges when it comes to learning.

I haven't planted anything with my kids until now as I am not much of a green thumb. Yes I killed a cactus so I don't usually even try in the garden these days! Anyway my eldest watched Dirt Girl World one day and asked if we could "dig a little hole and plant a little seed" I thought that was cute and these were also a cute, hopefully foolproof, way for him to be able to do it.

Enjoy the rest of your Friday and have a great weekend and a Happy Easter!

PS I will post the photos of the dudes when they actually become hairy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Freezer Paper Screen Printing Tutorial

Hello fellow bloggers, fans and crafty cyber surfers! Welcome to my Blog!

So today is (unofficially) Tutorial Tuesday!!!!

I liked the ring to it being that today is a Tuesday and I am posting a tutorial. Anyways, I'm not sure I have enough things to post as tutorials this early in my sewing career. We'll see how we go. It just might be a regular feature yet!!!

So today's tutorial, as the title says, is a tutorial to do screen printing using freezer paper. I love freezer paper! I discovered it by mistake really, being that I am in Australia it is not a product we use here. I believe it was the magical world of Pinterest that led me to it. 

 So this is Freezer Paper which you can get in Australia from Spotlight for I think $1.05 per meter (crazy considering it is only like $3 is in the US!! That's for the whole roll! You can get it online at USA Foods HERE and Try Oz quilts patchwork and quilting

So I decided since as we are heading into some dreary weather here, I would style up some Onesies for my youngest. Although they will most likely end up under other clothes it still makes them more fun, and appealing to the kids. When he saw the finished product he lit up and shouted CAAAARRR! That makes it worth doing. Onesies are the best way to layer clothes on cold days as they obviously will not ride up so wont let in the cold.

So as he obviously LOVES cars I decided that was a pretty safe option to go with. I wanted it to look like a Polaroid photo so I created the Polaroid frame in Photoshop. I then transferred my frame and car picture into Word to print them out. I'm sure there is another way to do this step but this worked for me.

Once you have printed out your pictures put your freezer paper over them and trace them onto the non glossy side. In this case I traced them so they became part of the same picture.

Cut out the parts of the picture that you would like to have painted on your clothing. In this case I wanted the car painted and the frame. If you wanted to you could keep the bits you cut out and make a reverse of your first print! I didn't think of this until later!!! 

This is where the magic of Freezer paper starts!!!

How it works is Freezer paper has a plastic coating on one side. So what happens is you place your picture where you want it on your work and then you iron it. The plastic melts and sticks the paper to your work. However there is only a small amount of plastic meaning you can pull it off your work easily, it is not permanently stuck. But it sticks enough that you can use it as a stencil to paint without your paint bleeding outside of where you want it. Isn't that amazing?! Well it gets me excited. You don't need expensive screen printing equipment to get a professional looking T-shirt. 

This is the fabric paint I used which I purchased at Spotlight for nearly $10 a bottle! I since discovered Lincraft has bottle that are 10ml smaller but they are less than $3! If you don't have sponges you could use a paint brush.

And this is my onesie after I have sponged the paint onto it. I like to dab the paint on then lightly brush the paint around as I worry about any pain escaping under the paper, although I haven't had this happen yet.

IMPORTANT! Don't forget to place a piece of cardboard or something inside your item of clothing or you will get a big mess on the back where your paint has leaked through.

This is the onesie once I removed the Freezer paper. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. As well as the reaction from my son who LOVED it.

This project is so unbelievably easy, I recommend everyone to try it.

WARNING! You are going to become addicted to this once you see the result of your first project and realise how quick and easy it is. You'll be making these for your kids, your friends kids and then even your friends friends kids you'll love it that much. They make great gifts. I gave the one below to my friends little girl for her first birthday. She loved it! I was a little embarrassed when she told me she had been getting it out and showing everyone without me realising. lol. I'm glad she liked it though.

Come visit me on my Facebook page HERE or Instagram HERE to keep up to date on whats happening at Sweet Ollie Boutique and any other tutorials I post.

Enjoy the rest of your day and HAPPY CRAFTING!