Lady bug cake

Beaux- tie ( kids recipe)

My daughter just loves bugs. All bugs. The craze started when she was about 2 yrs old. The phase has never ended. (6+ yrs later).

My husband and I attempted a bug cake. I’m not a recipe book lover in general, so I don’t own the famous Womens Weekly cake book. I prefer to just make stuff up and invent recipes most of the time. This is an adaption of a muffin recipe.

2 cups self raising flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
Vanilla essence
(Bake at 180 degrees for half an hour. )

Mix all ingredients together with electric beater and pour into a round glass bowl lined with baking paper.

This round shape will be the lady bugs body when cooked. I also baked a smaller round shaped cake at the same time. This was for the bugs head.

I mixed red butter icing in a bowl. It did look awful. That bright red. Eeek. !!! Yes the red coloring stains!!!

Next step was to ice the lady bug with red icing and cut strips of black liquorice for the dots on the back.
I simply bought a flat roll of liquorice and used scissors.

To keep butter icing spreading on smoothly it helps to have a cup of boiling water next to you as you ice the cake. Keep dipping knife into hot water.

I made a mud cake at the same time so I didn’t have to eat that awful red icing. See best mud cake previous blog.

I bought red pipe cleaners from the craft section at the shops. These I used for the lady bugs legs.

The lady bug eyes were chocolates and liquorice laid on wet icing as seen above.

Next was the black dots on lady bugs back and a thin strip of liquorice to indicate the wings. Then some fake green grass on the white platter and press in the pipe cleaner legs.

Eden and her school friends thoroughly enjoyed this cake. She took bug cup cakes to school on the day of her birthday as well.

Funny – as I’m typing this blog she came up to me with a new “pet” …. A moth. She said , “Mum, meet Rosie. I hid her under my desk all day at school so the teacher wouldn’t see and make me throw her in the school garden.”
Yes that’s my little bug – lover!!

This is another brown moth named Rosie too ( below).

Happy baking everyone.


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Pastry fun

Beaux- tie. ( fun food ideas with kids)

I was a late discoverer of puff pastry. So this blog may be a “no- brainer” for many of you. But for the few out there like me who didn’t know the wonders of a pie machine etc. …… Here goes!

We were given our little pie machine for Christmas a few years ago. What a brilliant pressie. ( thanks mum). I reckon a pie machine is a must. Especially for those days when you are stuck for dinner ideas or time. Or if you have only a little left overs and not enough for a whole family meal. Popped into pies, makes the perfect dinner with a side salad. If you have a little Spag Bol mince left over or some left over Thai curry, these are perfect fillers for pies.

My girls like plain cheese or cheese and chicken or tuna. The idea came from Angelina ballerina, a dancing mouse on TV. She loves cheese pie to eat. And so my girls decided they were dancing mice one day and wanted mum to rustle up a cheese pie. I simply grated the cheese and filled the pastry cup.

The pie machine comes with a pastry cutter and you press out the tops and the bottoms out of the defrosted pastry sheets.

Place the bottoms into the pie machine as seen above. Then the fillings (this can be sweet or savoury; blueberries and custard is a good desert idea).
Then place the little pastry lid on top , as seen below.

The pie machine seals the pie shut. Green light flashes when pie is ready.

We also tried making our own sausage rolls the other night. What a great success.

I got the girls involved and they loved it.

Eden helped me cook up some mince. She felt like a real little chef.

We added a tub of this tomato relish to flavour mince as well as garlic and salt and red onion. It was delicious.

Next we placed mince in centre of pastry and rolled it together to make the actual sausage roll.

Eden was most proud of this. See the look in her face. Especially the rose she crafted out of pastry to decorate with (leaves and all).

We placed four sausage rolls on baking paper, on an oven tray and baked at 200 degrees for about 20 mins. Until golden.

Miss Jessica (my younger daughter) did not like the sound of Angus Beef Mince. She was determined to only eat cheese pie and leave the sausage rolls for the rest of us.

But she wanted “a little sugar “. And so our pastry desert idea emerged.

With play dough cutters she cut shapes out of the pastry. Next we brushed a little milk over the top to wet the surface and this enabled her to decorate the shapes.

We cooked these up for desert.

They puffed up beautifully and tasted so yummy. Daddy was most impressed to come home and find a home made dinner from his girls. Sausage rolls and salad for mains followed by 100’s & 1000’s pastry butterflies and ice cream for desert.

Yes I know…. not the most healthy dinner in the world. But it was amazing quality time spent with the girls, being creative together and working as a team.
This is great for a quick afternoon tea idea too, for kids.

You can also do brown sugar instead. Yummmy.
Enjoy the wonderful world of puff pastry. There is loads more you can do with it. Xxx

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Chair bag

Beaux- quet ( craft project for kids)

Chair bag!!

I have been dying to do a blog…. And have so many ideas busting to be uploaded. But Christmas came sweeping in and we went away on holiday for almost a month and then school started….. And seven family birthdays in the last few weeks!
All a bit crazy. No time to blog!

Not to mention , my “baby” leaping into the world of BIG school.
Any mums out there shed a little tear??? I did.

One thing the girls had to have for school was a chair bag.

So with my eldest daughter Eden ( turned 8 yesterday!), we did a little old fashioned stitching to decorate her chair bag.

What an absolute hit this sewing thing is. It’s a “new” form of craft without the mess of paint and glitter etc; and all threads can be vacuumed up easily at the end. And it’s so easy and effective.
Even 5 yr old Jessica is into it.

This is Jessica’s start of stitching a tea party as a cushion cover.

We got the idea from my black and white tea pot. Drew a circle on the polka dot fabric with a pen. Then cut out the circle and stitched it on with the handle and lid.

We got this little, cute sewing kit from the shop called “Typo”. It was part of Eden’s Christmas pressie, together with a whole lot of fabrics I bought her.

We store all the fabrics and ribbons and bags of buttons in a little pink and white striped sewing box.

As you can see from the close up shot, the sewing is nothing too complex or ” crash hot!”. Gotta lower the bar when it comes to littlies stitching….. Just in and out, in and out through the layers of fabric.
Pinning stuff in place first helps alot.

For the steam coming out the tea pot – I drew it in pencil first on the fabric and I helped Jessica by doing this bit.

Eden just got a new pet blue budgie. So hence, the blue bird theme and love hearts. She is in love with her new baby bird named Jewel.
She’s even been having budgie play dates with friends who bring their budgies to play.

Great low maintanance pet – I highly recommend. Hours of fun. Tip: buy a baby one, not a fully grown one as they don’t tame as easily.

Back to the chair bag. Basic shape like making a cushion cover. See two sides and have extra fold to attatch chair bag to actual chair.

Books go inside and it hangs off the back of the chair as seen above. Great for home work books at home and storage. As well as school chair bag.

Eden stitched bows and buttons and layered love hearts onto the fabric, as well as her bird.
We ironed the sides of the pink fabric underneath and then sewed it onto the red chair bag.

Happy days…. Just had to post this shot on my blog. My girls with my new vintage tea cups and having afternoon tea together with the pet budgie, who is sitting on my fake birds tail in right of photo. Celebrating first day of big school. Whewwww. We made it.
Happy stitching, and promise it won’t be months till my next blog.
X Jo

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Rapee cushion sale

Beaux – on -the -go

It’s the first of December tomorrow!!!! Wow. How time flies.
Time for the advent calanders to start. I took this picture (above) from a magazine I’ve kept since 2008.
I have so wanted to make an advent calander like the one above , covering match boxes with cool papers and putting it in a frame.
Alas- I have totally run out of time to get it done and on Friday which is usually my art day – im off to the RAPEE cushion sale.
Instead of making an advent calander for my blog.

This is the best real sale I’ve ever been to. It’s only once or twice a year here in Sydney. Off smith street , off eastern valley way , northbridge , for those of my readers who like in this neck of
the woods.

Cushions are all between $2-$8 each.

These are all from this sale.

Gotta love a good bargain. Great for redecorating, Christmas gifts etc.
I did a “decorating on a budget ” workshop recently. All those who attended asked me to put up on my blog when the next rappee cushion sale is.
Sat and Sunday it’s on too.
Beware though….. It’s scary!!! Alot of bargain hungry ladies- and a few cat fights! Lol

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Circus mural

Beaux and arrow ( boys idea)

Yesterday I finished this birthday calendar / mural.
It is for a local pre-school who have commissioned me to paint 5 big wall murals for each of their age groups in the pre-school.
They will print out all the names of the kids each year and laminate them and use velcro dots to stick the children’s names in the appropriate birthday month.

The jungle one (above), and the under the sea one (below) used the masking fluid technique I blogged about a few months ago (blow sea weed and coral with masking fluid through a straw, then wash through with blue food colouring).

And the out of space one I did a blog on as a boys room idea.

You can see the scale of these canvases next to my 7 yr old. Big ones….. ( had to get a van to deliver them from the art shop).

The last theme is African cubs.

I’m half way through this one. I’ll do a blog on that later.
But back to the circus idea….

I thought this would make a great idea for a boys room.
Google – Circus posters. Fab stuff up there. Good idea to print your child’s favourite ones out and frame them.

When I’d just done the mural this far (above) I thought, “now that would look great on a boys bedroom wall, as is.”
With denim bed covers , red cushions and a star light in the ceiling.

I painted navy blue at the top and red half circle shapes as the circus tent.

I scratched the stars in while the paint was wet , with the back of the paint brush.

The tent stripes were simply painted with wide pieces of masking tape in between.

I used the back of the paint brush dipped in white paint and stamped it down in rows to decorate the red tent ( as seen above).

Next I used white spray paint and splattered tiny stars on the navy and painted a moon shape.

I painted a wooden star white and stuck this with glue at the top of the canvas to be the pinnacle of the tent.

The easiest way to paint the elephants is to trace them onto canvas using an overhead projector.
Photocopy your favourite picture onto an over head transparency.
Office works does this for less than a dollar!! (60c).
I borrowed the over head projector from my daughters preschool.

Here is the cover of a book I found and used this for my inspiration. As a mum – use whatever you can find to do what you need to do quickly – i.e. unless you are a really amazing cartoonist – don’t try and draw from scratch. Why re-invent the wheel. Just trace. It’s quicker and easier.

I flipped the elephant transparency over and mirror imaged the elephant to face each other.

This image was also a print out I did the same technique with.

This clown can be done the same way or used white, or black carbon paper to trace it on with, as I did.

I wish I had a gorgeous photo of a boys room to finish this blog idea off with.
But hopefully this will get your creative juices flowing if you’re thinking of a boys room with a circus theme or even a birthday party as my friend Bec did.
It’s a lovely theme , especially the old fashioned circus flavour.
Look out for fabric with red and white stars as accessories/ make cushions etc etc.

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Christmas craft with gold leaf

I’m getting into the Christmas spirit. My girls and I made some gold leaf bits and pieces.
Firstly we got some old ceramic vases and used them in display.
I covered the round one ( above on right) with gold leaf.

I bought three polystyrene stars and got some packets of old buttons from an op shop.

We painted the stars with gold leaf size ( the glue). After the size was dry we put gold leaf over them and threaded them onto string with a needle and then threaded buttons on.

Then hung them on the vases.
Next was to print a star on the other square vases

Eden and Jessica, my daughters, really enjoyed doing this part. First to paint the size onto the wooden star.

Then stamp that onto all four sides of the vases. We used a hair dryer to dry the size quickly. Wait until its tacky not completely dry.

This does make a mess but it’s easy to vacuum up after. The girls loved seeing the star come up in gold leaf.

I used the shell balls in this vase. (See previous blog on driftwood tree for shell ball idea. )

I also discovered a new technique by pure accident. I wanted to spray paint the big polystyrene star white. When I did this, the spray paint ate into the surface of the polystyrene, giving a rough texture that makes it look like a star fish on the surface. I love a happy accident.

Here’s another christmas idea as well. Wooden letters painted or even gold leafed or silver leafed.
JOY, PEACE etc are lovely Christmassy words.
Happy crafting…..

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Home made Christmas cards

Beaux- quet ( craft project)

Today we arrived up in the beautiful blue mountains to stay with friends.
Before long , the kids and I were all doing craft and the guys were playing guitar.

We had so much fun. Using gold leaf and wrapping papers etc to make Christmas crafts.

A simple triangle shape cut out of Christmas wrapping paper to make a Christmas tree is the basic template to use.

We stamped star shapes with gold leaf size ( the glue ).
The best size ( glue) to use is the brand called ” express -it”.

Paste the glue on to where you want the gold leaf to stick. We stamped wooden stars down with the size / glue on it to make a star print.
Wait for it to dry clear.

Rub flakes or sheets of gold leaf over the star shapes.

We painted a border on the black cardboard with the size. And then rubbed the excess gold leaf flakes on the border.

Next we cut more triangles out of Christmas paper. I used spray glue to stick them down.

Another idea is to write on the card with gold pen “Merry Christmas”.

I photocopied my favourite lounge cushion black and white. (above you can see the black and white photocopy made into the tree on the right).

Picture of my cushion. ( above).
Christmas sale of these cushions and others like it for $4 each coming up in Sydney in the next few weeks. Will post date and address on my blog as soon as I hear.

Next card we made along this same theme was made by cutting triangle shape out of paper napkins.

Firstly- stick background colored paper first.

Then I photocopied a black and white frame and stuck this over the top.

Next the napkin triangles and row of gift paper at the bottom.

Stems of trees is just black paper or ribbon. I used silver ribbon for tree trunks on other card.

Use spray glue or craft glue. Spray glue is easier but it’s not as child friendly for younger kids.

Really fun and easy cards….

Here is another card idea ( above). Using an ice cream stick and paper doily.

Christmas paper is a great way to make not only cards , but crackers , name tags and even table runners down the centre of the table.
See my previous blog on this idea

Even covering the Christmas candles ( below) with the Christmas paper looks great to make a matching festive table lay out.

Ok – so back to my little mini break in the blue mountains with my crafty friend who put me onto this whole blog idea in the first place. ( thanks bec)
See her arts and craft blog:

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