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Geo Piñata

11 Mar

It’s hard to craft empires with two small people on the scene, but I’ve been head over heels with Confetti System-esque pretties for such a long time, I NEEDED a silver shimmery piñata like these babies (no, birthday parties are not about the kids, as if that required clarification).

It was actually pretty easy, although the final product was a victim of the bad weather too – was going to take photos of it, pristine and draped over a tree branch. In the end it it didn’t get its photoshoot until post whacking, so it looks a little worse for wear. But was mega happy with it. All in all a simple and satisfying little project.

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I grabbed an old box and cut fives sides, utilising the existing fold, then just stuck ’em together with tape. Because I was a bit worried that my construction would be too sturdy, I made some “windows” in a couple of panels and papered them over for easy lolly release.

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Then just ran double sided tape up the sides and stuck on lengths of fringed foil. I found that folding lengths of foil into approx 10cm widths similar to a packet of crepe paper, then cutting, worked a treat.silver geo piñata 3

Popped a plait of twisted tissue paper through the top and voila!

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Gem Birthday

10 Mar

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gem birthday 1So I umm-ed and ahh-ed and generally drove my loved ones crazy trying to find The Perfect Venue for the Berries’ birthday. A spot that was pretty, with parking, that we could reserve, etc etc. And then it rained, biblically, and everyone squeezed into the not-so-big-when-it’s-full-of-kids-big-new-house. I guess they gave it a pretty good christening… Needless to say I won’t be throwing a kids party this big ever again! So, dear reader, please humour me by imagining all my little crafty fancies hung from the delightfully gnarled and ancient branches of morton bay fig trees, with the afternoon sun glinting and dappling each shiny thing, and happy children frolicking, instead of this grey old inside day.

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Holiday

30 Aug

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So after that fairly miserable post, something happy: holiday snaps. We played with butterflies, cuddled crocs, made enough sandcastles to populate an empire and just chilled out (while we weren’t feeding/settling/dressing/bathing/cursing/cleaning small people).

Palm Cove is kid heaven.

The Sleep Post

27 Aug

It had to come eventually, didn’t it?

So the Little Berry turns six months old this week. It seems she is a bit of a shit sleeper. Or, that her sleeping habits make me feel like shit. It’s the way our culture works, right? Good babies sleep like the dead. Bad babies are the ones that continue to call for you at night, to drag on your breast, arch their backs, to wail at an ungodly frequency. But we pretend (is it pretend?) that we love the closeness. The intimacy of those moments in the deep dark, just you and your baby. But it’s not intimate. It’s exhausting and messy and wet and heavy and did I mention exhausting. But the alternative is just admitting you hate it. Which just makes you feel more miserable. And the next step after that is that you have to ‘change’.

“Just stop feeding at night. She’s old enough to go six or seven hours without a feed,” says the sleep expert.

Except the sleep expert doesn’t hear that wail. After six months of crappy, interrupted sleep, it’s simply unfathomable to let that cry go on when it rings out in the dead of night, inches from my head. My bed feels poisoned by that cry. I can’t make love to my husband in that bed. It is a place for crying and feeding and wet nappies and scrambling for lights (but not too much light, shit, wrong button, shit, shit).

No, I am wired to respond and so it feels, that like a puppet on a string I rise to vainly pat and shoosh against the flood of angry sobs before giving in and again, feeding, with the quiet monologue still playing “just change it, ” as I have a little cry, quietly because maybe after this she’ll sleep.

Every time, it feels like giving in. Although it isn’t supposed to, is it? Aren’t I just responding the needs of my baby? Isn’t this a good thing? Schedules and routines are a Western construct! Babies have such tiny tummies, they need to feed at night! The thought flutters by, that surely the tummy is in proportion to the rest of the body? It’s not like the tiny tummy has to hold food for a giant?

In my twenties, girlfriends clocked insane hours at their top tier law firms and merchant banks. The lack of sleep was part of the glamour. But there ain’t no five figure bonuses in this job. Just a feeling of being sleepless, a failure and alone.

Coconut Un-Birthday Cake with Strawberry Frosting

22 Jul

Once again I have to start by apologising for the crappy quality of this post. But the splendiferousness of this cake refuses to go unrecorded. It’s a coconut pound cake with pink icing, whipped up for a picnic with my fabulous mothers group. It’s a proper beaten cake, no melt’n’mix here, but sometimes a girl’s gotta step it up a notch.

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Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake, courtesy Martha Stewart

I made a double batch of this mix and baked two cakes to layer…

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
175g butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 big teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, toasted

Pre-heat oven to 170

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar for, like, ever. Add vanilla and eggs one at time and beat, beat beat. Then add flour mix in three lots, alternating with butter milk, just gently to combine. Pop in a cake tin and bake for 60 mins. It’s cooked when a skewer comes out with a bit of a crumb on it.

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Then ice the puppy with Fresh Strawberry Icing, made with 1 cup of strawbs, pureed, strained, reduced by half and cooled, then beaten into 1 cup of butter. Add icing sugar a cup at a time til you get to teeth-tingling territory. I stop at about 5 cups.

Wish I had a pic of the Berry-decorated beauty it all her glory but I promise it looked like a million bucks. Then it got DE-VOURED.

 

Confessions

30 May

Behind closed doors, all over the Inner West, barely controlled chaos reigns. We are teetering on the edge of complete anarchy, people. How do I know this? Because I now have two children.

When I was pregnant, those mums would smile benignly at me as they herded their little cherubs around the park or strolled through the market behind a neat and tidy Phil and Ted’s packed with little poppets.

I know now that those smiles had to be fake. How do people do this and remain sane?

By the skin of their teeth, is my conclusion.

I understand now that the merest crack, the tiniest show of weakness or uncertainly can have fearsome consequences, that the smallest slip can have you tumbling down a snot smeared, Peppa Pig hole into a special kind of delirium, with wine the only possible saviour.

Too much? I think not.

Obviously the psychopaths that gush, “enjoy every minute” are in need of a reminder of the realities of juggling a newborn and a preschooler. I confess I may get violent with the next person who says, “it goes so fast”. I invite them to spend from 4 til 7pm at my place. Those three hours are a time warp. Pity my poor husband on the days he’s more than five minutes late from work.

Yes, yes, these days will be a distance memory all too soon. But I’ll refrain from pointing that out to the next mum I see waddling along with a bun in the oven and a toddler in tow. I’ll suggest she stock the freezer and the wine cellar and simply wish her nerves of steel.

New Mumma Biscuits AKA Anzacs

25 Apr

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Anzacs, or as I think of them, new mumma bikkies. I make loads of these to take visiting. They’re full of oats which help with milk production (apparently), not too naughty, and can be gobbled by mum or brought out for the stream of baby gawkers like me that love a good sniff of a newborn’s noggin. Plus they’re so easy to make – each time I get slacker with measuring quantities but they always turn out.

So for anyone keen on a spot of baking today, here’s my current recipe…

Anzac Biscuits:

Preheat oven to 170

Melt 150g butter

Dump into a bowl:
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup desicated coconut
1/2 cup caster sugar

Add 4 good tablespoons of golden syrup and a teaspoon of bi-carb to the melted butter. Stir gently, it should foam up a bit.

Add wet to dry and mix. The crunchiness of your Anzacs depends how much you squish them down. Leave plenty of room on the tray for spread and bake for 12-15 mins.

Eat!