Saturday, January 31, 2009

Something sweet


My new favorite cake-- tropical fruit cocktail pavlova!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Number 4 challenge

Lovely lenswoman, elegant gardener and decorator extraordinaire Karin of Ute och Inne has a Nummer 4 challenge on her blog. I was one of those she tagged in this challenge. Of course I'm delighted to play along, Karin!

Translated from Swedish the challenge says: Show the fourth image in the fourth map on your computer, if you have maps in the map, show the fourth image in the fourth map there.

Hmmm, map probably means file? I'd make that as show the fourth picture in the fourth file. So here's mine:

It's a photo of the fluffy behind of my funny pet dog Clinton, LOL!

And here is his front view in case you'd want to see.

I wonder if any of these gals would be up to the challenge (playing along is optional of course) :

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shabby Chic Blog


Image from Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Blog

I'm delighted Rachel Ashwell now has a blog.

I used to watch every single episode of Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic show on tv but it stopped airing after sometime. From the show, I developed an appreciation for the sweetest, softest neutrals and the calmest whites. Think fluffy unmade feather beds awash in an explosion of morning sunshine and reflected light gleaming from crystal chandeliers or pale pink roses tucked inside white ceramic vessels adorning the most unexpected places. The charm of patina, the glow of candlelight and the quiet simplicity of a seashell are celebrated for their understated elegance. There is indeed beauty in imperfection- wabisabi English style.

Mr. Mushroom


I found this sweet toadstool coin purse at the kids accessory and novelty section and I knew I just had to have him!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dutch craft inspiration and giveaway winner


Image from Ariadne at Home

Inspiration surely knows no language barriers! I certainly look far and wide when it comes to finding and keeping inspiration.

Today I'm happy to share another inspiring website ala Marie Claire Idees. It's called Ariadne at Home, a very beautiful light and airy Dutch lifestyle and craft site filled with easy, beautifully designed craft projects. Do check out some valentine-y projects such as these lovely goodie bag heart enclosure and tags, rose wine gift labels, valentine inspiration board, gift wrapping idea, and romantic breakfast pillow among others.

Today is Chinese New Year and I wish everyone good fortune this year! Kung Hei Fat Choi! Happy Australia Day to all aussie people too!

The lucky pink cow charm giveaway winner by the way is #9...


Congrats Gina! Please email me your address so I can send little pink cow your way!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Valentine workshop: basket stuffers


Create baskets of valentine treats for friends and loved ones! Make this adorable Beary Bear from Bunnyhill Design's free pattern. Tuck this sweet bear in a basket filled with yummy valentine sugar cookies and lollies!

Next valentine workshop: Gift baskets and bags

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chinese new year crafts and a giveaway!

To greet the year of the ox, I am having another tiny giveaway! This tiny pink cow lucky charm will bring lots of good luck, smiles and fun your way! Simply leave a comment and I'll draw the winner on January 26, chinese new year!

Usher in more luck this 2009 with these fun crafts from Kids Craft Weekly and HP Activity Center. Check out The Long Thread's New Year Craft Roundup too.

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Comments are now closed.

When you feel like looking at pretty things


Sugar is caramelising in my brain just looking at all these eye candy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Heartwarming Handwarmer tutorial and more


The season of hearts is slowly descending upon as all. It is a time to connect to our own hearts and to others! I have created a special tutorial for this season, plus a mini meditation to-go! I hope you enjoy!

Heartwarming Handwarmer Tutorial

1. Cut out pattern from muslin lined cotton fabric. Allow 1/4" seam allowance. Do not use silk, cashmere, felt or any other fabric. The template is here.

2. Stitch wrong sides together and leave 1/2 inch opening. Reverse fabric and fill heart sachet with approximately 1/2-3/4 cup rice grains using a plastic funnel. Stitch opening discretely using ladder stitches. Voila, it's done!

3. To use, microwave handwarmer for 1-2 minutes with a cup of water in microwaveable container.

This handwarmer fits perfectly on the palms of your hand. Use it when you're feeling cold or have the blues. Use it to soothe an achy tummy or shoulder or back discomfort. It is also very effective with a heart centering meditation.

Heart Centering Meditation:

1. Hold heart handwarmer with both hands, breathe deeply and let the air fill your lungs and your tummy. Exhale slowly. Do this 3-5 times.

2. Allow the warmth of the handwarmer to gently spread to your arms, shoulders and your entire body. Feel a gentle awareness in your heart area. Feel your heart open and breathe. Imagine it having a nose (funny as it may sound!)

3. At inhale, fill your heart with all the love and compassion of the universe! Feel the universe fill you heart with bubbles of love. Relax and just enjoy the feeling. At exhale, send all your love to to every living and non-living thing in the universe. Send love to yourself as well.

This meditation when done frequently will open and connect you to your heart.

Knitted inspiration


This is one of my vintage baby dresses. I love how my mother has lovingly kept childhood frocks as souvenirs of motherhood. She was no knitter but she surely had an appreciation for warm, soft, handmade things.  I particularly love this dress because it is  knitted and it has touches of fairy floss pink.

If only I can knit stuff like that (and baby amigurumi animals too)!

I have this book gathering dust on my desk. I never got past chapter one. I've attempted to do one-needle cast ons but I've miserably failed. I love yarn but yarn doesn't love me back or so it seems. Recently, I've come across Amanda Soule's beautiful prose "On Knitting". The title reminded me of one of those charming discourses on topics of sheer importance-- on loving, on cooking, on living! I read on. It seems I have been inspired. I'm taking the needle again and start making those cast-ons, imperfect  and wobbly as they are. Baby steps. As they say, you gotta start somewhere. 

Homestylin'


Make, bake and create with the best of them. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cinnamon days

The best cinnamon rolls are homemade and fresh from the oven!

Here's my favourite quick and easy cinnamon roll recipe from All Recipes.com.  It only takes 90 minutes to make from start to finish. It's perfect for weekend brunch and it tastes oh so soft and sticky! 

Ninety Minute Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed


DIRECTIONS:

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in margarine; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, softened margarine.Roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Spread dough with margarine/sugar mixture. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in 12 lightly greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Remove from muffin cups to cool. Serve warm.

Creamy glaze (optional) :

2/3 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4-8 tbsp. hot water

Combine ingredients.  Spread  or  pipe glaze over cinnamon rolls in a zigzag motion.

P.S. Soak raisins in water for 10 minutes before adding them to the brown sugar mixture. The raisins will turn out plump and juicy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A sweet tooth recipe


I forgot to post this no-fail, favourite sweet tooth recipe last Christmas. It's from Hallmark magazine and I've been making it ever since. Hope you give this recipe a try! It's the most satisfying gooey treat to cure a sweet tooth!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The joy of handmade: zakka

Some  favourite images from my zakka craft book pile:









Links
  • More zakkalicious images here.
  • Interesting article on zakka.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Valentine matryoshka stitchery dolls


Make a sweet pair of mum and daughter valentine matryoshka stitchery dolls from Rachel's russian nesting doll pattern.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pretty, romantic crafts

Celebrate the most romantic of seasons with pretty crafts and sweet ideas.

Image from Sandi Henderson Design



Image from ME Home Companion



Image from Better Homes & Gardens



Image from Country Living



Image from Inspired Ideas


Giveaway winner


The winner of the Pre-Valentine Giveaway is.....

Sonia of Cozy Homemaking !

Congrats Sonia! Kindly email me your address so I can send your little win to you!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A pre-Valentine giveaway



To love oneself is a beginning of a life-long romance.
-Oscar Wilde


I have a very special giveaway. It is a 1.5" x 1.5" whimsical hand painted ceramic brooch set in beautiful filigree design. It shows a woman or a princess looking into a mirror and putting on what could be a set of exquisite earrings. It is a lovely image set in turquoise and emerald hues and it symbolizes one special and often forgotten message: love and honor yourself and bask in your own special beingness because there's no one like you!

Simply leave a comment and a winner will be chosen on random on Friday, January 9, 2009.

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Comments closed. A winner will be drawn tomorrow. Thank you all for joining.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blog awards and blog giveaway winner

The lovely Jojoebi of A Bit of This and a Bit of That and Jojoebi Designs was so kind to give me this award during the new year. What a wonderful way to start the new year! Thank you Jojoebi!

Now, about this award:

This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

I'm blessed to know many wonderful people through this blog and best of all to cultivate lovely friendships with all of them. They come from near and far. But space doesn't matter. The world smaller and lovelier because of the bonds of creativity and friendship shared. It's hard to pick just 8 people to pass this award to since I adore each and every blog on my sidebar.

Anyway, I am honored to pass this award to the following blogs:

Karin of Ute och Inne (Sweden)
Thalita Dol (Brazil)
Cindy of Lucy's Tales from Home (USA)
Suzanne of Create Fun and Mess (Australia)
Gina of Gingerbread (Australia)
Sonia of Cozy Homemaking (France)
Kristy of Paisley Jade (New Zealand)
Valerie of Acornmoon (UK)

Please drop by these blogs and say hello!

And now, for the most important order of the day. It's the day I announce the winner of the new year's blog giveaway. The winner is.......

A Spoonful of Sugar

Congrats Sarah and Lisa! Please email me your mailing address so I can send the goodies your way! My lovely thank you's to everyone who joined in this giveaway fun. For sure, I shall have more wee giveaways in the days and months to come.

Have a most lovely week.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Scruffy boy pirate



Look ma, no more softies from patterns! I think I'll be making my own.

Presenting Scruffy Boy Pirate softie created out of sketchbook doodles. Ahaaaaar! Isn't he sweet? I will share his pattern soon.

Have a great Sunday!

Update: Comments for the new year blog giveaway are now closed. I will announce the winner tomorrow morning! Good luck and stay tuned!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mobile fone charm tutorial



Happy new year everyone! Here's an easy mobile phone charm tutorial to get you into the crafting spirit! It's super fast and easy to make and best of all it doesn't require any sewing skills. A mobile phone is quite easy to locate inside your purse if it's got a cute colourful (or subdued) charm dangling from it. Let's get started!



1. Assemble the supplies.

You'd need some colourful fabric ribbons of your choice, buttons, waxed thread or strong natural twine, needle and thread and a scissor.



2. Directions. Cut fabric ribbon, about 12 cm. in length. Fold into half. Cut twine/waxed thread about 12 cm. in length. Fold twine into half and make a knot leaving about 5 cm length from the top . Measure width of ribbon (usually it's 2 cm). Make another knot leaving about 2 cm from the top.Insert smaller loop into ribbon and cut extra twine left. Fold ribbon flap on the top leaving 5 cm length on the bottom. Fold top flap like a doggie bag. Secure with thread and add button. Fasten button securely and tightly. Alternately, you can replace twine/waxed thread with a metal ring to make a ribbon key holder.