Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Mini Jack-o-Lantern

Ok so whilst Halloween is best known as an American tradition (although I believe it actually started in Ireland, correct me if I'm wrong though), it is definitely gaining popularity here in Australia.

Each year more and more merchandise is hitting the stores in prep for it. We still only get one or two knocks on the door by trick or treaters but we know of more people having costume parties to celebrate the day. 

Next year I'd love to have a Halloween party. It's not good timing for us this year as we are due very soon with our second daughter. 

That aside, whilst I was doing my food shopping today I came across these epically cute "Mini Jacks".

 They're about the size of an orange and cost $2. I couldn't resist and bought one, that I will probably carve in the next couple days. It is my first carving of a pumpkin so I'm pretty excited.

I did TMNT watermelon last year but that was because it looked cooler in a green shape than orange. Also I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin.

Still undecided what to do for its face, but I think it will be a character of some sort and not just a scary smile.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

DIY Kids Superhero Mask

Here is a quick and simple tutorial for making a mask for yourself or your little ones. They are cheap to make and only take about 30 minutes (plus a little drying time for the glue.

What you will need:

Craft foam in the colour of your choice
Mask stencil (plenty of templates can be found on Google)
Glue (I used fabric glue, just because  had it handy, you could use pva too)
Permanent Texta

To make:

First cut out your template, and check the sizing on your or your child/rens face. I measured my daughters face first and then drew a stencil to fit.

Once you are happy with the size trace it onto your foam and cut it out.

Cut your ribbon to the desired length, measuring from your temple, ensuring you have enough excess to tie it at the back.

Using some of the scrap foam, cut out two small pieces just wide enough to cover the end of your ribbon.

Glue the ribbon to the back of the mask and press to secure. Over the ribbon, glue the small pieces of foam so that the ribbon won't rub on the face and hold to secure.

Once the glue has dried, flip your mask over and draw carefully around the edge of the mask and eyes to give the mask a little quick detail. (You don't need to add the outline, I just felt it finished off the mask well)

And then you have a finished mask :)

Wear and be super!
Here's my little Miss Jellybean modelling her mask

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Milo Macaron Goodness

I've attempted Macarons a couple time before, sometimes successful and other times... not so much. I am always planning the next chance to try again. So this week I set aside the egg whites to sit ready to go to make them this weekend. I found a great recipe through Pinterest for Milo Macarons, link here Recipe.

Building my courage and fingers crossed hoping not to have an unsuccessful attempt, I got all my ingredients ready and measured. I think one of the hardest parts, for me anyway, is knowing when my meringue is at soft and stiff peaks.

Luckily for me, today was a success! Although my piping of the shells wasn't the neatest, they cooked very nicely :)

Note: The recipe says use of powdered egg white is optional, and seeing as I didn't have any available anyway, I chose to leave it out.

Below is the recipe as used from the link above to the Raspberri Cupcakes blog.

Makes 12-15 macarons (I managed to get 16 out of my mix, just depends how big you pipe them)
For the shells
100g egg white, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
110g almond meal, at room temperature and well sifted
185g icing sugar
15g Milo powder plus extra for dusting (replace with equal amounts of icing sugar if you want to try baking plain, unflavoured shells)
50g caster sugar
Optional: 1 tsp powdered egg whites, helps to stabilise egg whites but is not necessary
Line two baking trays with good quality baking paper. Place icing sugar and Milo in food processor and pulse for a minute to remove any lumps. Stir in almond meal and pulse for about 30 seconds to combine. (If you don’t have a processor just sift together with a fine sieve.) Sift into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
(I chose to sift my icing sugar, milo and almond meal together, as my food processor seems to miss some of the stuff at the bottom of the bowl)
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt (and egg white powder) in a medium mixing bowl until it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.
Add meringue to your dry mixture and mix together with a spatula, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white (you really want to beat all the large bubbles out of the mixture, which is easily done by smearing the mixture on the bottom and side of the bowl with your spatula), then mix carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after about 30 seconds.
Place mixture in a piping bag with a 1cm round piping tip. Pipe rounds about 3cm diameter on your prepared trays, leaving at least 2cm space around each one. Tap baking sheets carefully and firmly on the benchtop a couple times to remove any large bubbles. Leave to dry for about an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently it does not break/stick to your finger. This will help prevent any cracking and help the feet to form on the macs.
Preheat your oven to 130-150°C, depending on your oven. You can place the sheet of piped shells on top of an upside-down roasting tray or another baking tray, for better heat distribution. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Carefully test if the base of the shell is ready by gently lifting one and if it’s still soft and sticking to the baking paper, then it needs to bake for a few minutes longer.
Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet, dip in extra Milo powder to dust the shells and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Milo Ganache
100g good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
100ml pure (heavy) cream
50g (about 1/2 cup) Milo powder
Place chopped chocolate and Milo powder in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Heat cream in a small saucepan on medium heat until it just comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate and Milo. Leave for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then use a whisk to combine all the ingredients until smooth.
Chill in fridge until mixture thickens but is still pipeable, whisking it every 10 minutes or so. Spoon or pipe between macaron shells.
Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container to allow them to mature. Remove from the fridge about half an hour before serving so they come closer to room temperature.

So glad that I came across this recipe. I'm always happy to find an excuse to eat more Milo!

Happy Baking!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

POP! Vinyl Collection Update

Here is an update on mine and my husband's POP! Vinyl figure addiction *cough*, I mean collection.

We now have 80 figures! Not bad seeing as we have only been collecting since January.

The collection is as follows

Sulley, Mike Wazowski, Boo (Monsters Inc)
Malicifent (Sleeping Beauty)
Evil Queen (Snow White)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmations)
Ariel, Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Genie, Jasmine, Jafar (Aladdin)
Alice, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland)
Jack Skellington, Oogie Boogie and Mayor (Nightmare Before Xmas)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Carribean)
SDCC Metallic Dumbo (Dumbo)

Twin pack mini POP! figures Winnie The Pooh and Tigger that live in our daughter Jellybean's room.

Chase Metallic Batman
Factory Error Yellow Symbol Batman
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Black Flash (Fugitive Toys Exclusive)

Freddie Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street)
Gizmo, Gremlin (Gremlins)
Beetlejuice (Beetlejuice)
Edward Scissorhands (Edward Scissorhands)
Leonidas (300)
Robocop (Robocop)
SDCC Bloody Rorschach, Dr Manhattan (Watchmen)
Hannibal Lecter (Hannibal)
Alien, SDCC Green Bloody Alien (Aliens)
Predator, SDCC Green Bloody Predator (Predator)
Agnes, Dave, Evil Minion (Despicable Me 2)

Martian (Mars Attacks)

My Little Pony
Dj Pon-3, SDCC Metallic Rainbow Dash

SDCC Batman Tee Sheldon, Amy Farrah Fowler (The Big Bang Theory)
Hot Topic Exclusive Gir (Invader Zim)
Bloody Rick Grimes, Bloody Daryl Dixon, Michonne, Michonne's Pet 1, Michonne's Pet 2, SDCC Bloody Prison Guard Walker (The Walking Dead)
He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, Hordak, Spikor (Masters of the Universe)
Finn, SDCC Glow in the Dark Finn, Jake, SDCC Zombie Jake, Ice King, Marceline (Adventure Time)
Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, Shredder (TMNT)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Feeling Crafty

With a new baby girl on the way I have been thinking recently about all the clothes that our daughter (aka Jellybean) never even got to wear that are sitting in the top of her cupboard. The plan is to recycle most of it as hand me downs with bubba #2 (also known as my Dark Passenger :p ). 

However, I have been "feeling crafty" lately and have decided to embellish and customize some of Jellybean's clothing so that it isn't the exact same for Dark Passenger. Before tackling the clothes in storage I bought a couple cheap neon tees for Jellybean and found some great matching neon sequins to have a play with and get me going.

Below are the results of the two tees. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. It took a few hours to do each top, but I was doing it all by hand and it actually was spread out over a couple nights after Jellybean went to bed.

After the 2 tees I found these gorgeous shorts at Target. They already had the hearts stitched on the back, so I bought some nice ruby red sequins and followed the outline to make them stand out even more. These are going to look ultra cute on Dark Passenger when she arrives. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Winter "Spring" Cleaning

Starting to clear the "spare" room in prep for it becoming a nursery for baby girl no.2 due in November. Found all these in the cupboard! 

Can't even think of the last time we actually played any of them!

What was your favorite board game when you were growing up?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Yay! Home made ice blocks!

So I finally convinced my husband that our lives would not be complete without a Zoku quick pop maker. Deciding factor was that it was on sale for $20! Oh and did I mention that its PURPLE!? Absolutely love this colour 😊

Even though we are just about to head into winter I still can't wait to start using it.

Has anyone used one of these? Did you love it? What are some of your favorite creations?