Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Chickens, Dora, and dolls house

Been a busy few months weeks making stuff, mostly Mr was doing the making, but I had a wee dabble, and after Mr cut out the wood, I produced dolls house number one - in pink for Miss's 2nd birthday, Master is getting a firehouse for xmas.... (I must be mad!)

We now have three feather babies in our back yard, Mr made the chicken hutch, and we got the wee darlings a couple of days ago, the fur babies were very interested, but have given up stalking the cage now the chicks run at them in a scary set your fur on end way.

And Miss and Master have a friend who loves Dora, and who is having a birthday very soon, so I had a crack at making Dora's backpack, including the map, AND I made them from upcycled materials, the bag used to be a couple of womens shirts!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Screenprinting, upcycling and tee-shirts!

Been making tee shirts for a friend's kids as well as mine, 15 in one day! Then we screen printed them at Playcentre, some of the screens our centre owns, but the fire engines we found images for off the net, cut them out of OHP plastic and taped them to blank screens, was tricky cutting them but well worth the results!

My fire engine mad boy is utterly stoked with his new tee's, maybe now I won't get so much grief about the fire engine shirt I still haven't sewn up!

I also upcycled some shirts into pants for little miss, (but of course haven't managed to get the elastic in them yet!) Love the flowery blue pants, they will be lovely and cool over summer, which seems to have started already, 23deg C in the kitchen right now! I managed to keep the pocket from the front of the shirt with a bit of fiddling, as pockets are very important at the moment, and I've only used the sleeve of the red striped shirt so far, planning more pants from the rest, maybe with some ruffles!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Un fondue

I know REAL fondue is supposed to be made with wine not beer, but made this way it creates a sharp cheesy taste which goes nice on pizza, you could always replace the beer with white wine if you wanted to try for a more authentic taste.

equal quantities oil and flour
2-3 grated garlic cloves
1 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
beer to mix

Gently fry the first four ingredients until bubbly then slowly add the beer the same way you make a white sauce, stop adding beer when you get the thickness desired. Season sparingly - the more salt you add the more the bitterness of the beer comes through.
Use as a pizza topping of dip lightly steamed veges and crusty bread in it.

Chocolate Chip Biscuits

125gms Olivani
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 Tbsp treacle
1 Tbsp soy milk (or subsitute)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 - 2 cups plain white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (or more) choc chips - dairy free

Cream olivani, sugar, treacle, milk, essence until light and fluffy. Sift 1 1/2 cups flour and baking powder together and mix into the creamed mix with the choc chips, add more sifted flour if needed the mix should be damp but able to be worked - not sloppy and not crumbly. Roll into walnut sized balls and flatten with a fork on a greased oven tray.
bake 180C for 20mins

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Stuff I've been making

I keep meaning to update with pics of stuff I've been making, mostly from stash, but there are some upcycled items in the mix!

Treasure hunt crowns - todays quickie, we had a treasure hunt at Playcentre and on the way home I was "told" that we NEEDED to make crowns with the treasure. Lucky I had some felt lurking in my piles of fabric, a quick cut, hand sew on elastic across the back, hot glue gun the treasure on, and voila one princess and one pirate king all happy!

Then there are the bakers dozen undies in VERY retro 80's cotton lycra, a score thanks to Mum who found a HUGE bag of the stuff going cheap, and some free fold over elastic someone was giving away! Of course Miss fussybum only likes the pink pair *rolls eyes*

And last but not least the swap I did recently, labeled "message in a jar" you had to make items to fit a 375-500gm jar, I chose a falafel container and made cloth reversible bags to go around the containers... then the kids stole the containers so the items just got wrapped up in the bags I made *le sigh*

The first jar was for the mum, who liked pinks, greens, sparkles, chocolate... one WIP bag from sequined lycra, a bamboo container I sparkled up with some fingernail polish, jaffas, and sparkly fabric covered buttons

The next was for a wee boy about 2yrs old who LOVES tractors, so one felt tractor fridge magnet, a tee shirt with a tractor sewn on the front, a lollipop and a keywallet with some keys in it as he loves keys too.

And finally for the 4 yr old girl who loves pink, dolls, fairy's etc... a wee purse in sparkly fabric, a lollipop, a bracelet and last but not least a mini waldorf doll with funky hair and a pretty sparkly pink dress. The doll took me ages to make and I was really pleased with how it turned out!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Undairy Food

I keep looking longingly at chocolate dairy food in the supermarket, so decided to try making my own. Of course I cheated and used chocolate soy milk, but you could make it from scratch no sweat.

1 ltr of flavoured soymilk (I used sanitarium chocolate flavoured)
4 Tbsps cornflour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Whisk the cornflour through the soymilk and then heat until thick, cool then chill, to avoid the skin on the top put some gladwrap over the mix before cooling.

To make from scratch mix together

1 ltr soy milk
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 Tbsp cornflour
4 Tbsp dark cocoa

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Stuffed Silverbeet

We have MEGA huge leaves of silverbeet in the garden at the moment, and as the grape vine has yet to sprout any leaves I tried stuffing the silverbeet instead.

red lentils
boiling water
chicken style massel stock

fry the rice in oil till starting to colour, then add the boiling water, stock, red lentils and cook till rice is tender, season to taste

Add as much burgher wheat or couscous as it takes to make the rice quite stiff and able to be rolled

Add any chopped vege you like - things like raisins, pistachios, spring onions, grated carrot, sliced celery

Wrap spoonfuls of rice mix in bits of leaves (remove the thick vein out of the leaves and cut to a suitable size if needed) and place the leaves in a small roasting dish.

Zest and squeeze a lemon, and add with 3 Tbsps oil, and chicken style stock dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water and pour over the leaves.
Cover roasting dish and bake 180deg C for 20 mins

Monday, 16 August 2010

Potato fritters

cook 8-10 medium potatoes,
1/4 large carrot in a pot until just cooked,
drain and leave to cool just enough to handle
grate into a bowl,
add 3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder,
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
finely chopped spring onion or chives
salt and pepper to taste
milk substitute to mix

mix to a thick batter, and fry in a hot pan until golden on both sides

Lentil pasties


2 heaped cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp rice bran oil
1 tsp vegan margarine
Aprox 16 Tbsp cold water

Sift flour and salt, rub in oil and marge, slowly mix in water 1 Tbsp at a time till you have a slightly moist but not sticky dough, cover in glad wrap and leave to relax while you make the filling.


Boil 1/2 cup brown lentils
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
boiling water to cover with 3cms above

then wash and chop two medium potatoes and cube into frozen mixed vege sized cubes, add to the lentils, cook until lentils and potato is soft.

Fry in a large frypan,

2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garum massala
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt

add in drained potato and lentil mix and 1 leaf of finely sliced silverbeet
stir and remove from heat while you roll out the pastry.

Divide the pastry into 16 bits and roll each bit out into a thin circle, place 1 Tbsp of mix on each circle, fold together and press with your fingers so the edges stick together.

Bake 210C fan bake, for 10-12 mins until golden.

Serve with diced cucumber and tomato, and plum or brown sauce for dipping.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Bags from Scraps

I washed Miss 1yrs Playcentre bag, and it fell apart, so it was time to make a new one, I found some very heavy denim fabric in an op shop and an old curtain - the non thermal type, with the addition of some snaps and a couple of D rings she has a drawstring top backpack which easily fits a change of clothes, cloth nappy and the lunch bag I just made.

I also made two lunchbags based on this tutorial and based the bag pattern around the same basic idea, just upsizing it, adding straps to the back and putting a drawstring topper to make the bag hold more without making it too large.

I added handles to the tops of my lunchbags, the insides are lined with scrap PUL not large enough to make nappies from.

I had a bash at making ziplock bag replacers too using this tutorial, great way to use up even the smallest bits of PUL, I patchworked this one together.

I have more cut out, and can think of lots of uses for them, Mr 3 wants to put cars in this one!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Leftovers fritters

Whenever we have mashed potatoes we seem to end up with leftovers, I'm not sure if it's a comment on my mashing skills or if I just cook too much, but with leftover potato you have the beginning of some really nice fritters, although you could probably throw anything in the batter and it'd taste good!


(all measurements are approximate, so feel free to mess around with it)
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour (the thickener type)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper
a couple of cups of leftovers
a can of beer

mix together all the ingredients except the beer, stir in as much beer as you need to get a fritter consistency, fry in shallow oil, drink left over beer while cooking, add salad and crusty bread to the plate and enjoy!

The cornflour and rice flour give a crispy texture to the fritters, and stop them being so stodgy, and the beer gives a really nice flavour and helps the crispness too, you could substitute the beer with rice or soy milk if you are allergic to the idea of wasting cooking with beer!

Ginger Cake - roasting pan style

Another variation to the ultimate no mess, one dish cake, (you make the whole thing in a roasting pan and cook it in the same dish). Many may know the chocolate version of this which has been around for donkeys years, but this version removes the chocolate in flavour of ginger, with a really nice moist result - even better eaten the next day!

Place the following ingredients in a large rectangular roasting dish and mix well

3 cups plain flour (you can 50/50 with wholemeal)
2 cups raw sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon

make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the following into the well in the stated order

2/3 cup rice bran oil (or other light flavourless oil)
2 Tbsp vinegar (white, or cider is nice)
2 Tbsp Treacle (your could substitute golden syrup or molasses, but treacle is best)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups water

Mix well and bake in a pre heated oven 180degC for 20-25mins fanbake or 1 1/4hrs bake (or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Really nice served as pudding with soy yogurt.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Sweetcorn and Pineapple Scones

Ok, weird,yes, unique, yes, needed some spring onions, yes, but basically you could use this recipe with two cups of ANY semi liquid stuff.. so be inspired!

4 cups plain flour
4 heaped tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (1 tsp if your other ingredients don't contain salt)
1/4 cup yeast flakes (optional, just for a cheesy taste)
100mls oil
1 cup cream style sweet corn
1 cup crushed pineapple (you may need a bit more if mix is too dry)

Mix together, (add more liquid if it's too dry), knead lightly, shape into scones and fan bake 12mins 210C

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Best ever gingernuts

Can't beleive I haven't posted this recipe before now, these are THE BEST gingernuts, they taste like griffins used to!

In a pot put

3 Tbsp golden syrup
75gms raw sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Heat slowly stirring well until it come to the boil then add

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup rice bran oil

Stir well and mix in

1 3/4 cups plain white flour

Leave to cool a bit, then the mix can either be rolled and cut with gingerbread man cutters or use walnut sized balls and flatten with a fork

Bake 180C for 10-12 mins - no fan, they get really hard and crunchy when cooled down, and make great dunking bikkies

Saturday, 17 July 2010


I love pikelets (these can be made large and called American pancakes too ;) )
While the original recipe calls for eggs, I just leave them out totally, and it works fine.

For every cup of flour add
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk sub (plus extra to get right consistency)

Mix well, the batter should be about thick paint consistency, add a little more milk if too thick.
Cook spoonfuls (or ladle fulls for pancakes) in a hot-ish frypan until mix bubbles and`edges dry slightly, flip and brown on other side.

If you want you can add mashed banana or chocolate chips to the batter

Friday, 16 July 2010

Homestyle stew - crockpot

Part of this actually came from the supermarket as a vege pack with instructions on how to cook it up, but no reason why you couldn't just make it from scratch.

3-4 cups of the following veges sliced/ cubed
red capsicum

place in crockpot on either high (4-5 hours) or low (8hrs) with

2 tsp Beef style Massel stock (or equivalent vege stock)
400gm can chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup pearl barley
1 Tbsp mixed herbs
1 bayleaf

Mix and add boiling water to just cover the veges then mix in two cups of cooked chickpeas, or other cooked white beans.

When cooked throw in a cup of spinach leaves and a Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley and leave another 10 mins on high before serving. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serve with crusty bread (and a glass of beer!!!)

Sun Dried tomato hummus

Mr 3 loves one flavour of hummus, from one brand... only! (Lisa's if you're curious, I must admit it is VERY nice)
As it's pretty expensive I thought I'd try making some at home and see if it came up to standards, and the verdict is "yum" (though he wants me to store it in the bought hummus containers, maybe it's the packaging that counts?)

This recipe is very approximate, as I threw stuff at it till it tasted right....

2-3 cups really well cooked chickpeas and a bit of the cooking water (I cook them till they are almost mushy)
5-6 whole sundried tomatoes (the stuff in oil, not the dry stuff, very important!)
oil (garlic flavoured would be good)
lemon juice (about 2-3 Tbsps, add more at the end if it doesn't have a tart enough edge)
2-3 Tbsps chopped peeled tomato (I used canned stuff)
1 tsp brown sugar
1-2 tsp dried basil (or a couple of Tbsp chopped fresh if you have it)
salt to taste

Blend until resembles hummus, taste and adjust lemon and salt to suit

NB - this recipe really SHOULD have both garlic and tahini, but as Mr 3 doesn't like garlic and we never seem to have any tahini it's up to you if you add them or not, probably 1/2 cup tahini and a clove of garlic would be about right.

Our favourite way to serve hummus at the moment is with seaweed flavoured rice crackers (they are less salty than plain salted rice crackers)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Lemon roasting pan cake

OK, weird name, but this is the ultimate no mess, one dish cake, you make the whole thing in a roasting pan and cook it in the same dish. Many may know the chocolate version of this which has been around for donkeys years, but this version removes the chocolate in flavour of lemon (working on the basis that the choc version for pudding is keeping Miss 1yrs awake at night)

Place the following ingredients in a large rectangular roasting dish and mix well

3 cups plain flour (you can 50/50 with wholemeal)
2 cups raw sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons

make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the following into the well in the stated order

2/3 cup rice bran oil (or other light flavourless oil)
juice from the lemons you zested
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups water

Mix well and bake in a pre heated oven 180degC for 20-25mins fanbake or 1 1/4hrs bake (or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

If you want to make the chocolate version, omit the lemon and add 2/3 cup cocoa to the dry mix and 2 Tbsps vinegar instead of the lemon juice.

Add 2-4 Tbsp berry jam to the wet ingredients

Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger to the dry ingredients

Use an orange instead of a lemon

Car Caddy from scraps

I had to make an extra item for a swap at the last minute, and decided to use up some scraps making a couple of car caddys.
The closed caddy has bright vehicle fabric on the back, and is held closed with snaps

This is the one I made for the swap, using up the last of the skirt I used to line the trousers.

And because Mr3 loves his fire engines and saw me making the swap one, I whipped this one up for him, all I need to do now is find some felt to make a fire for the fire engines to put out!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Chai tea syrup

I bought some chia tea the other day, THEN read the ingredients, MILK, ugh, so then I googled vegan Chai tea and found this blog (this chick is like my hero!) but as I'm a dead lazy sod and don't want to boil up this stuff every time I fancy Chai tea, I used her recipe and turned it into a syrup, just add a few Tablespoons to boiling water, top with milk substitute and bobs your relative!

Chai Tea Syrup:

3 cups water
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp peppercorns
2 small cinnamon sticks
8 cardamon pods, broken open (I couldn't find this in the shops so just used ground cardamon)
sprinkle of ground ginger
Bring contents of sauce pan to boil carefully, stirring until the sugar is all dissolved. Simmer at low heat for 30 minutes, or until reduced by about half.
Add 2 black tea bags and allow to simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes.
Pour tea from sauce pan through a strainer into a hot sterilized bottle, and when cold store in the fridge.

This is quite sweet, so you might want to increase the spice quantity, it would also be really nice with some orange peel in the syrup.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Skirt to childs trousers tutorial

Here I'm going to go step by step through turning an adults skirt into kids trousers. I do tend to cut up skirts a lot, so I apologise in advance to any skirt lovers, but skirts are great for upcycling as generally the fabric is in good condition, and there is more usable fabric in them than in jeans. This skirt caught my eye because of the funky pockets.

First thing I needed to do to make the pattern fit was to remove the elastic from the waistband.

I quick seam rip with the quick unpick and the elastic is gone, I also ripped the back seam out so the fabric would sit better when I put the pattern on it.

I used the existing waistband when I cut out the pattern, it will be easy to thread elastic through once the pants are sewn up.

You can do this with many styles of skirt, this corduroy one didn't need any unpicking to cut it out.

Even better than a skirt is a large denim dress, there is tons of fabric in these and they usually have lots of neat stitching on them

Even after cutting out there should be fabric left to make something else.

If you have a four piece pattern then sew the front to the back at the side seams

Next sew up the inside leg on each peice

Turn one leg right side out and slide inside the other leg, match the crotch seam and sew from middle back to middle front through the crotch. Them hem the legs and turn over the top for elastic.

Tada! Jeans with funky stitching down the front.

And here are the pocket pants, lined and turned up ( a bit too long yet), will add a better photo when I'm allowed to have them back!