Monthly Archives: June 2011

Birthday cakes and cup cakes

Beaux- tie ( a recipe)

Basic sponge cake recipe:

2 cups self raising flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk
Vanilla essence

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl! Then beat with an electric beater or wooden spoon till all mixed through and smooth.
I often double or triple the recipe as it’s the same one for the cup cakes.

If you want to make a butterfly shape you need Pour batter into a large square oven dish , bake and then cut wing shapes out of the square cake afterwards.
I used simple musk sticks to line the edge of the wings. This also cover up any dodgey icing attempts.

This is another one I did. I got a roll of pink curling ribbon and l stuck it down on a white piece of wood. Actually – it was a cupboard shelf!!! Be innovative.

So back to the butterfly – cut a long sausage shape for the body and ice each piece individually.then put the wings and body together on the cake plate.
Use Little silver balls on the cake- the ones you can eat , they are a lovely finishing touch.
I used liquorice for antenae on the first butterfly and curling ribbon on the end of a tooth pick on sophias one.

Using the broken pink musk sticks and the rest of the purple and pink icing, I did the cup cakes. As I said: same recipe. Place batter in cup cake cases and bake at 180 till golden brown. Always ice cakes once cool or icing melts.

I tied the curling ribbon to each musk stick curled the ribbon ribbon by pulling it against the back side of a pair of scissors. Then just pressed it into each cake.

I found a large piece of cardboard from going to a shop that sold fridges etc and asked them for a fridge box. I painted it pink and put ” happy birthday” on it in white paint.

I got a 10m piece of colourful fabric from spotlight on their clearance rolls for $1 p/m. This became the table cloth.
And there was the main part of the party….
I used the scone recipe and choc cake recipe and quiche recipe to do some other tasty bites. ( see Beaux- tie section of my blog for other easy recipes that work every time!)
The whole party can be under $100.
I usually go to a local park, tie baloons everywhere and make it look pretty.
But this recipe is a winner. It’s so quick and easy and works every time. I’ve been using it for over 15 years now and done SO many cakes!!
More themed parties and cake ideas in a future blog. Enjoy baking – I always get the kids involved and then they can say they helped make their own birthday cake. They love that!!


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Interior Design tips

Beaux- peep (interior design)

Little ideas for your home:

Pears and apples are so beautiful to display in your home in a creative way. The colours are vibrant and the shapes – gorgeous.
My tip: display your best things and put away the “ugly” things.
For example: if you have shelves in the kitchen: use them to display pretty things not store cereal boxes etc.
If you have matching coffee cups, display those together and put all the ones with writing and slogans on, etc away in the cupboard.

These shelves are in my kitchen. I painted the back wall around them black and tied up the colour in my favourite mugs.
Of course: black paint from miss tints section at Bunnings- $2.
Mugs from opp shop $5 for set. I always look for vases on sale. Big black and white vases- $5 and $3 on Freedom furniture clearance sale.

“Less is more”. So keep lines in the house clear and simple is a usual ” rule of thumb”.
Use red peppers and apples etc to add touches of colour. My capsicum is fake , so never needs swapping. Always ties up red colours.

When we moved into our house- these cupboards were an awful brown. I painted them a neutral beige colour and displayed my matching mugs.

Once again- a vintage opp shop find a few weeks ago- an old fashioned cake stand. Only a few dollars. Lovely to display fruit on the shelves and perfect for a high tea. Ladies High tea…. Now that’s another blog to come.

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Kids stepping stool

Beaux- quet ( craft project)

This is a fun project to do for your kids. I did mine with my mothers group when our kids were all little. All of us mums did our stools at the same time one night. With lots of nibbles and drinks and good laughs.

The stool above I found on another council clean up. It was a tall bar stool and I had the legs cut off to make it like a little old fashioned milking stool.

This was the other one I did ( I have two daughters)
The blank little stools are also available from Bunnings warehouse and are not too expensive.
I painted the legs of the stool with bar code stripes which I did with masking tape to make the stripes.

I painted Eden’s name all over the top and then put a pink heart shape over the top. To get the block printing look, paint the pink heart shape with thick acrylic paint onto a piece of plastic cellophane first. Then print the heart shape down onto the top of the stool.

With Jessica’s stool, I did her name as shown in previous blog ( doing name canvases for your childs room)
The legs are a bright sunshine yellow and have red dots on. To get a good polka dot shape, use the back of a pencil that has a rubber on the back. Dip into the paint and stamp onto the stool. This will give you a good circle / polka dot shape.

If you are not keen/ confident to paint cup cakes, even different coloured stripes or polka dots over the whole stool will look nice.

The other mums in my mothers group did lighthouses for boys, cars, trucks & tractors. Very cute.

My girls use their stools all the time. Especially for standing up at the basin for brushing their teeth.
And also – a ” naughty stool”. After watching the super nanny series on tv a few years ago – I use a naughty stool for time out purposes. Gotta love that.

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Kids cubby house

Beaux- princess / beaux – and-arrow ( idea for little girls & boys)

Some of my fondest childhood memories were ones of playing in my cubby house with my little friends from next door.
I love cubby houses and the one above was found on council clean up in pieces on the side of the road.
This was a project I did with my girls. We washed the cubby house down with a hose – pipe and lots of bubbles- ( all part of the fun with little kids)
Once the pieces were dry we put the cubby together and we gave it a rough white wash coat of paint.

This is my husband playing inside the cubby with the girls.

Then we got out the acrylic paints and began to paint tulips on the doors and window shutters. The girls loved doing this part.

I put a few finishing touches of shading on the tulips to make them look 3d. Nothing fancy- all very rough. But that’s part of the shabby- shick look.

We also found some old terracotta pots and plastic pots on the side of the road from council clean up. We brought those home and painted them white too and put some plants in.

When we moved into our place this part of the garden was totally over grown with weeds and was basically unusable as the tree there was full of ticks.
We had great fun with the help of friends who had a chainsaw. Chopped the tree down and pulled all the weeds out.
Then laid some plastic down. Put some white pebbles down and put the cubby house and white pots there instead. Looks great.

We bought some cheap stepping stones for the girls to step on to get to the cubby door.

There’s our little cubby…”new homes and gardens look!!!”
Dolls and tea parties in the sun- can’t wait.

This whole project cost me nothing as it was all council clean up throw outs including the paint.
The white stones for the garden we did pay for. I found a great place in Brookvale ( here in Sydney) that delivers an entire TONNE of white stones for $100 ! This did my entire garden all around the whole house. Now I have almost no weeds or garden maintanance. My kids loved shoveling the stones in their beach buckets and helping me put them all around the garden. We had great fun- a team effort.

Often these cubby houses are available in op shops and other recycled garbage places. They just need a coat of paint and a little creativity.
I would love to do some little window boxes of pansies and hang them under the window shutters.

Beaux and Arrow:

The old wooden slatted cubbys are great to revamp too.
Think boys: – navy and white striped wooden slats with red gingham curtains and a little red or navy door and pirate flag on the top of the cubby!! Gorgeous.

Don’t forget this previous blog- pic above. This is great colour for painting a cubby house for boys and also doing a name sign above the door- Bens Cubby!

Enjoy your own ” better homes and gardens”.

P.s- I would love to get my hands on my neighbours cubby house behind the white fence!!!! ( pic above)

” We love our cubby! ”
( my girls on the roof of their cubby house yesterday. )

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Masking fluid trees

Rain- Beaux ( art project for adults or kids)

Tree scape in chocolate tones:

This is a lovely and effective , yet simple art project.
Doing a tripteche ( a series of three canvases that go together )

You need:
Liquid latex/ masking fluid
A drinking straw
Hair dryer
Brushes and acrylic paint

Art spectrum make a good masking fluid- under $10 per bottle and this will last ages.

Decide on a good colour scheme, that tones well with your home and wall colours. The above canvases will be hung on a chocolate/ mocha coloured feature wall in a foyer of a home I am helping to design.

Firstly: Pour masking fluid on canvas and tilt up to allow the fluid to run down the canvas to make the trunks / stems of the trees.

Begin to blow the masking fluid to create tree branches

Do all three canvases in a similar way and then use hair dryer to dry the masking fluid completely. It won’t work if patches are still sticky and wet.
Once dry, paint in the hills with a large brush. Dark brown was used in this case. Paint must be watered down – not too thick.

Next use the lighter tones of watered down paint – in this case creames, beiges and mocha colours.
Fade these colours up the whole surface of the canvas in big horizontal brush strokes.
Best to do all three canvases at the same time so they match up when hung on the wall together.

Don’t forget to paint around the edges of the canvases too.
Then dry all the surfaces with hair dryer. The masking fluid is basically “liquid plastic”- therefore it resists the paint. ( provided paint is not too gluggy and thick. !!!)

Now the fun bit: use the eraser and rub off the masking fluid. It pulls off in long strands, like mozzarella cheese.
This will expose the white canvas and tree shapes start to emerge.
When all the masking fluid has been removed, you have your tree scapes.
I always say, “Less is More!”
I think the simplicity of these three simple trees makes such a striking art work for a wall. I don’t think it needs any thing more ( ie: if you are doing this project at home with your kids, they will want to add flowers and leaves and a rainbow etc……) no, don’t wreck it – please. Less IS more!

A simple coat of varnish or a glaze or even three coats of hair spray will seal the canvases nicely and give a satin sheen to your work. Hang on a coloured feature wall if you can.
Have fun.

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Sticky date pudding

Beaux – tie ( a recipe)

Quote: ” when you’ve had the worst day, there is something very comforting about coming home and cooking something delicious. And knowing if it’s laced with butter – it will taste fantastic…. You can rely on that. !!! ”

Watched a great movie last night with my husband. Pouring rain outside- cuddled up inside with a nice cuppa tea and a biscuit , heater on …… a good movie all about food!!!

Howz this for a day- woke up and noticed my 7 year olds gorgeous ,long, blonde , shiny, clean locks had nits.
I missed going to church – having masking tape in hand- search and stick the nit to the tape. ( good tip). She casually said- oh yes: my friend at school has them. I was ropable!!!!

Then we decided to go on a family trip ( and invite two extra kids) in the torential rain and catch the bus to go and watch a movie. ( big mistake)….
We got to the movies ( my daughter wearing a hat)…. Movie was sold out!!!!
Kids and I were gutted. Back on the bus…. Then locked out the house in the rain….

Back to the quote from the movie: – good to come home to some delicious comfort food. You can always rely on that at the end of a hard day. Needless to say: I’m eating and writing my blog:

I laughed about how this girl Julie decided to do a blog – like me, and how she wondered if any one was reading it and the list of similarities goes on- but she became famous and had a movie and books written about her blog…… Dreams are free!! Right.

Any way- great movie. And this inspired me to put up a great Beaux recipe.

Actually- I had forgotten about this gem and I have had several requests for it recently.
So decided to upload it.
This is a great winter recipe.
Either make it into a pudding with the butterscotch sauce. Or leave the sauce altogether and make it in a loaf tin and make it a simple:
Date loaf. Yummy:- sliced thickly and toasted for breakfast.

Another option is to replace the dates with bannana or berries. This makes a great loaf too. Very cost effective -Provided bananas are not $12.99 per kg as they are at the moment in Sydney because all the banana farms were wiped out up in Queensland recently.

Pre heat oven – 180 degrees

Soak dates in boiling water and tea spoon of bicarb for half an hour prior.

Date loaf recipe:

250g pitted dates
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 1/2 Cups self raising flour
1/2 Cups sugar
90g melted Butter
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp cinnamon ( optional)
Vanilla essence ( to taste)

Line loaf tin or oven dish with baking paper. Pour batter into tin.

Bake for 40 mins / till golden brown.
Prick with fork to check- cooked through.

Funny how some of the best recipes are the hand written ones ( you added) to the margin of the recipe book. Not the recipes in the actual recipe book.

If you are making sticky date pudding. Make the sauce to pour over cooked pudding ( above).

Butterscotch sauce:

100g butter
50 ml fresh cream
Vanilla essence ( or baileys)
1 cup brown sugar

Place in saucepan over medium heat oven and stir constantly until butter melted and sugar is dissolved.
Pour over hot sticky date pudding and serve with lashings of fresh cream. !!
Enjoy. It’s a winner.
Eat while watching good movie as suggested above.
No pictures on blog today. I’ve eaten it all. (Only joking.)


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New Blog Address:

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