Wednesday 30 May 2012

{Kitchen Tips} #2

Welcome back to round 2 of Kitchen Tips.

  •  For perfectly even cookies that all come out the same size, roll them into balls and weigh them. Eg: 40g for a small/medium cookie and 80-100g for a large delicious afghan. Make sure they are spaced far enough apart so they don't run into each other!

    Source + a great recipe

  •  Please, please ALWAYS buy cooking (or baking) paper!  NOT GREASEPROOF! I believe the cooking paper is waxed, so you have so much less to clean and everything comes off much easier. 

  • If a recipe calls for caster sugar and you don't have any, try putting regular white sugar in a food processor/blender and give it a blitz. 

  • If you are making cookies, icing or pastry and the butter wasn't quite soft, there are 2 quick things you can do to get things moving.

    1. Get your hands in there. The warmth of your hands will help soften the butter.

    2. Place the bowl (as long as it isn't plastic) over an element turned on low. Use your hand mixer as usual and take it off as soon as the mixture starts to come together.

    These two things have saved my 'bakin' so many times! (That was a pun there by the way....)

Happy kitchen activities!

Click below for previous tips:

{Kitchen Tips} #1

Sunday 27 May 2012

Bedroom Chair - Re-Upholstered

Ok so ignore the terrible pics, our house has the worst natural light imaginable.


What used to be an old, squeaky, out-dated chair (with wheels!) has been transformed into a modern, shabby chic, french country inspired bedroom chair.

Killer doing her investigating

The undergarments. Lets just hope it had fizzy spilled all over it..

Front View
Back View
We made the executive call to get rid of the pleated skirt, especially since we found these cool bed legs from the Eco-Shop for $2.

I got to use proper upholstery fabric this time, unlike the drill cotton I used last time.

I used the same principles as last time:

1. Remove legs (if applicable).

2. Rip Unpick the fabric from each section of the chair, making sure to maintain the integrity of the pattern pieces.

3. Lay pattern pieces on the floor to determine how much fabric to buy.

4. Buy fabric.

5. Lay out and cut pattern pieces.

6. Staple pieces onto the chair in the reverse order you removed them. Eg back piece goes on last.

7. Unpick and re-do if necessary, make sure each piece is not warped or loose.

8. Re-attach legs if applicable.

I added a bit of detail to my chair with gold thumb tacks. (I know, right!)

I placed them relatively evenly spaced around the back of the chair (also serving the purpose of attaching the fabric) and also around the front of the chair.

I have a pile of bent tacks because they aren't really designed to go through thick fabric and wood. But with a mallet and tack imprints in my thumb it became a success.

I am really stoked to finish this project, the chair turned into a real piece of character furniture!

In other news, I am feeling tonnes better, looking forward to going away next weekend and I just participated in my first Christchurch Bloggers catch-up.

We watched a movie, ate and shared lots of delicious baking, and talked blogs and lives and 48hr film festival. There may or may not have been a smoking, blown-up hi-fi speaker along the way.

I am excited to make new friends, knowing them more than just what is on their blogs (One of the bloggers likened it to internet dating!) and become part of a community outside of the world wide web. Here's to many more!

Enjoy the last few days of autumn, temperatures are plummeting and winter is knocking brrrrr.

Thursday 24 May 2012

{Kitchen Tips} #1

Working in a cafe definitely has its advantages. Especially when you work with someone who has 30 years of baking experience. Even more so when that someone enjoys teaching you their secrets.

So without further ado, here are a few tips and tricks I have picked up along the way.

  • Did your milk or cream or yoghurt happen to go off, sitting in the fridge forgotten? Don't throw it out! Use it in scones or baking, the lactic acid makes things rise more and the taste disappears.

  • Run out of muffin cases? For rustic, cafe-style cases, simply tear off a 15cm strip of baking paper, cut it in half to make 2 squares, then cut from each corner into not-quite-the-middle. Then, with spray oil, grease the base of each muffin hole slightly and place the paper case into it's new home. the edges should fold around themselves nicely. If they fold into the middle and get annoying, just stick them back with either some muffin batter or more spray oil. You can also fill these quite full with mixture, as the case will hold them up more. Bigger muffins ain't a bad thing.
  •  Making a trifle? or something you need a sponge cake for? The recipe is super easy to remember - 200g of each of: butter, eggs, sugar and flour. (the average egg is 50g so you will need 4)
    *soften the butter, beat well with the eggs and sugar. Beat more, then gently fold in the flour. Pour batter into 2x lined sponge tins (they are round and shallow) and bake for around 20-25min at 180 degrees.
    You can make a Victoria Sponge Cake with these two sponges, just sandwich together with jam and real or mock cream. YUM!

Stay tuned for more tips!

Sunday 20 May 2012

An Old Phone Seat - Re-Upholstered

It has been a bit quiet on this blog lately, not for lack of material but because I have been a bit sick. Here's hoping I can only get better from here! However a week off work catching up on sleep and doing absolutely nothing has been awesome!

Anyway, my latest project is an old phone seat. These suckers used to be found in the hallways of old houses with the corded phone on the top shelf and a pen and paper and maybe even one of those flip-by-letter phone number books on the bottom shelf. Then you were free to sit on the nice padded seat and natter away on the phone in comfort!

I picked this seat up from Trade Me for a whopping $2.

As you can see it had a gross PVC/Vinyl tan seat and some formica type shelves.

I had the perfect material stashed away waiting for a small seat to come my way and what do ya know? Perfect fit! An easy unpick of some staples holding down the PVC and stapling the new material on. At the moment it is just resting there so I will get some screws in when I get the chance.

The last thing I did was grab some more of my wallpaper supply and trace around the shelves which popped out with a bit of a nudge. I have yet to do this, but I will PVA glue the wallpaper onto the shelves and wedge them back into place.

 Ta-da! All in an afternoons work!

P.S It's my birthday tomorrow, I haven't made a big deal of it this year, especially with not feeling too good, but Dave and I are going away to Lake Tekapo over Queens Birthday weekend for a long-awaited break. Dave's parents have a caravan we will borrow (yay for cheap and cozy accommodation!) and we can spend 3 whole days either doing nothing or doing a lot! I can't wait!

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Un-Finished Objects

Well lately I have been guilty of starting too many projects before I can finish any of my old ones!

Here's what I am up to...

Bike Update...
Mud and chain guards getting sanded and primed

The pieces of my bike!
My Bike is coming along slowly. I still haven't chosen the colour I want it but I am leaning towards Matte Black. I am on the lookout for a nice comfy seat and the perfect wicker basket. 


The chairs undergarments

Future fabric
This is a new project which will get a full post to itself once it is done but here is a sneak peek. A free chair that I rescued from the skip at work will be a new bedroom chair. Like the new fabric?

My 'new' overlocker!

Not really a project, but learning to thread this bad-boy will be a mission! This was a gift from a work colleague, I dusted it off and gave it a good clean and hopefully we will be in overlocking business soon! The instructions are really clear so I should be set.

My Quilt hasn't had much done with it lately. It has been my snuggle blanket on the couch during these rather chilly evenings. 

Queen bed width!
And finally, a long-term project that you haven't seen yet, my granny stripe blanket. This is nearly a year in the making and I haven't got very far. Each row takes me around 20min so I only get it out when I don't need to concentrate too hard on the TV.

I have an idea for a canvas too but I will post that when it is finished.

So a fair bit going on here and less and less daylight hours to do things! All I want to do when I get home is snuggle under a blanket and blob but having nearly all my projects all over the lounge is good motivation to do a bit of something each night. 

In other news, I featured over on my good friend Sophie's blog HERE

Happy May!

Friday 4 May 2012

Flower Cupcakes


I thought I would bust out my icing utensils again and make some pretty flower cupcakes. 

A wee tutorial, as best as I could show you with photos:

Use this tip for the icing

Make a wee blob in the middle of the cupcake. This is the centre of the flower.

Rotating the cupcake, ice around in circles, moving the piping bag in 'waves'

Keep going..

Finish by smoothing out the outside edge

A few other experiments (a couple of fails in there - don't look too close!)