Monday, July 19, 2010

Sneak Peak - new knife blocks!

It's been a very busy few months and a lot has been happening. I'm very excited to announce that the new Artisan Knife Blocks are progressing and I can provide a sneak peak of a couple that will be initially available in extremely limited numbers. If you are interested, let me know - only 3 Black Pearl remain from the initial sheet I'm using and there are 5 in the oyster.

Feedback (positive and negative) and suggestions for other colours are most welcome!

Before and After

I love seeing the before and after shots where talented people renovate old furniture or even rooms. Yes, I admit that I am more than slightly addicted to the reno shows on Foxtel. I thought I'd show our latest addition which my boyfriend did after the recent council clean up. As you can see, we found it left out for rubbish collection, carried it home and after a lot of sanding, he stained it a dark walnut which brought out the wood grain. We're not sure but think it's a piece from the 70's (due to the funky square knobs that were attached and which we will use on something else - wall art perhaps??!!). It is now the piece which is shaping the rest of our on the list, the dining and coffee tables....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Curvy things I love!

I love pears - not just the flavour and the fact that they are low GI, I love the shape. They're so curvy and feminine and I love that there are so many designers doing pears! I also am a bit partial to an egg shape...which, let's face it, is not dissimilar to the pear. Here's some of my faves.

Orange Egg Bank by J. Schatz
Copperwire Provencale Pears by Yoola
Crocheted Pear Coasters by Crochele
"Sweet" Mini Emotion by Art Mind (highly recommend you check out the full range of emotions represented in clay, they are amazing!)
Large Bee Bowl by Jill Rosenwald
Ball Brause Sprinkler for Nuno Felting (used to lightly wet down the wool roving) by Felting Supply
Gas Grill by Eva Solo
Blue Egg Bird Feeder by J. Schatz
The Kindness Pears by Lapomme
Sun Yellow Egg Planter by J. Schatz

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cream & Black

It's funny how you see something when out buying bread that just stops you and leads you on a world wide search...and a blog post! That's what happened yesterday. I was at the supermarket, racing around trying to get out and away from the werewolves (it was witching hour at 5pm) as quickly as possible. I normally pay no attention to baby strollers but I passed one in the aisle (which surprisingly didn't take up the whole aisle) - it was cream and black...and oh soooo stylish! I actually stopped and turned around to take another look. I was so taken with the colour started me looking for more of this combo. I'm normally a bright white/modern french provincial girl but I think I could be converted to cream and black...with a little white thrown in! Here's what I found.

BTW, although I trained and worked as a Nanny for many years in a previous life, I have no idea if the stylish stroller is safe/practical does look good though! And I must say that the photo does not do it justice.

I've been considering doing a limited edition metallic charcoal knifeblock but I may just have to do a mix of cream with charcoal - natural paint of course! Let me know your thoughts xxx

Stokke XPlory Stroller
Black & Cream Nenish Tarts by Epicurious (click link for recipe)
Astro II Chair by King Furniture
Tiny Bow Fabric Button Earrings by Cream Rose via Etsy
Felt Pelt by Modern Fibre Lab via Etsy
Tara Keely Dress via
Pearl Leather Choker by Irinas Island via Etsy
Country Toile Baby Shoes by Sewings Sparklz via Etsy
VW Bug by Volkswagen
Love Dish by The Brick Kiln via Etsy
Ivory Chiffon Flower Bag by Mojo Spa Style via Etsy
Castelbel Coconut Candle via
Cream and Black Camera Bag by xcessrize via Etsy

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easy Coconut and White Chocolate Christmas Truffles

OK, I owe a huge apology, this was supposed to be posted before Christmas and I didn't make it! However, Valentines Day is coming up and as they're not traditionally Christmassy, you could make these for Valentines Day! They're REALLY easy and quick to make. Those who know me will testify that I'm a one pot cook, never follow a recipe as stated because I like to cheat, and anything that takes longer than 30 - 45 minutes just doesn't make it into my repertoire!

Check out my time saving tips at the end of the post - the recipe is the "proper" way but my tips will provide a quicker, simpler way of doing things. Also at the end of this post are tips on how to package for gifts.

Also, there's a printable version of this recipe here. Makes it easier for you to save or print out and should save paper :-) There is also a convenient link on the Blog page of where all PDF instruction sheets will be listed.

The photo above is by John Paul Urizar, sorry no shots of mine, they were all eaten too quickly!

White Chocolate Coconut Truffles
Makes 20


  • 100g/3.5 ounces slivered almonds
  • 2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup/80ml/2.70 ounces thickened cream 35% milk fat (thick pouring cream or double cream, not whipped with peaks)
  • 180g/6.35 ounces Nestle Premium White chocolate, broken into squares
  • 2 tablespoons Malibu (coconut rum)
How To
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread slivered almonds over baking tray. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden. Process in a food processor until finely chopped.

Note: Occasionally I make these on arrival at friends' houses and may not have access to a food processor. I have been known to substitute crushed nuts or to place slivered almonds in a freezer bag and bang with a rolling pin to crush.

2. Spread coconut over baking tray. Bake 3 – 4 minutes or until lightly golden and toasted. Remove and cool. Be sure to watch both nuts and coconut as they will turn and burn quickly. Do not walk away during steps 1 and 2.

3. Pour cream into heat proof bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water, until hot. Add chocolate. Heat, stirring with a metal spoon until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in Malibu, nuts and ½ a cup of the coconut.

5. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.

6. Line a tray with baking paper. Roll into balls and then in the coconut. Place on a tray and refrigerate.

Credits: Original recipe taken from Super Food Ideas, December 2003/January 2004

Cheats Tips

a. Whilst the nuts are in the oven (I bump up the temperature BUT KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE ON IT), I place the cream in a microwave bowl (large enough to take chocolate, nuts and coconut at the end to save washing up :-)) and heat. You should do it on a low heat however I do it on high for short spurts - 1 minute then 30 seconds until it's hot enough to melt the chocolate. Add the chocolate and stir. It should melt easily. Have the chocolate at room temperature and it will stir in within a minute.

b. Bash the nuts whilst the coconut is in the oven. You will need to stir the coconut several times as it will start to catch at the edges. Don't forget about it.

c. When you have combined the chocolate mix with the nuts and coconut, place it in the freezer (if you have room!) to speed up the rolling process.

I did the above and I had the mixture in the fridge and everything cleaned up within 20 minutes of starting- and I bashed the nuts by hand!

Packaging for Gifts

Here's some ideas for what I've done in the past:

1. Buy cheap white bowls from a $2 shop or Ikea, line with a napkin that fits with your Christmas colour scheme, layer truffles and wrap with clear cellophane and ribbon/raffia/jute twine etc. The bowl becomes part of the present. If you don't have enough truffles to fill the bowl (sometimes happens with the last gift), I fill the gaps with mixed sweets, lindt ball chocolates etc. I make sure at Christmas I have a packet of something in the cupboard ready to use as a filler when making my food gifts. It also adds colour to these.

2. Place on Bamboo plates (they have a rustic hand made look which I love), and wrap with cellophane and raffia tie.

3. Find cheap tupperware type containers (I prefer Pyrex as it is glass), fill with truffles, close lid, wrap like a normal gift. The container becomes part of the gift.

4. Tea cup and saucer. Wrap as per suggestion #1.

5. You could make your own boxes and wrap in cellophane. Or wrap a box in fabric. Download the tutorial to make your own open box from Lovely Design's blog  here. The template is adaptable to any size which I love. I also love her blog on how she used her boxes as kitchen drawer dividers. Fabulous!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eco "Bubbly"

There's just something about the fizz when white vinegar hits bicarb (or baking)'s the most satisfying sound and the results are outstanding.
Today I used it to unblock a drain in 5 minutes flat. No chemicals or toxins to enter our precious water supplies and disrupt our biodiversity and a perfectly functioning drain. Even better, it cost less than $2.50!

Image courtesy of

Recipe for Eco Bubbly Drain Unblocker
approx. 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
approx. 1/2 cup white vinegar
approx. 3.5 litres (118 ounces) of boiling water (2 kettle fulls)

Fill kettle and boil. Pour the bicarb soda onto/down the drain. Add the vinegar - it will bubble furiously which means it's working hard. Pour the boiled water down the drain, refill kettle and repeat until drain is clear. You may need more boiling water or to repeat the steps if your drain is seriously blocked.

Other Eco-friendly tips I use every week:
  • Bicarb (baking) soda with a tiny bit of water in a stained coffee cup, rub against stains with your fingers and they will disappear in a flash. I use this all the time on tea stains. Make sure it's not a liquid, add just enough water to make a thick paste.
  • Eco Bubbly in the toilet - pour in some bicarb (baking) soda, add white vinegar, let fizz and sit for a while, scrub with toilet brush and flush.
  • Bicarb (baking) soda paste to clean kitchen and bathroom sinks. The same as cleaning the tea/coffee stains, mix soda into a paste, work over sink area, wash with water. I've also added vinegar to this around the bottom of taps which helps loosen any gunk before wiping away.
  • Eco Bubbly to clean your dishwasheer - sprinkle bicarb (baking) soda in the bottom of your dishwasher, add vinegar to get a good fizz going, run your machine on a quick cycle (mine has an "eco" cycle). It will clean the pipes and the inside should be sparkling when you open the door. I have also been known to add orange and lemon essential oils into the bottom prior to switching on. Leaves your machine smelling extra fresh and essential oils also provide additional germ killing power.
  • Bicarb paste can also be used to clean your shower however...I highly recommend that best results will be obtained by switching your soap/shampoo/conditioner etc to natural alternatives (no SLS/petrochemicals etc). This generally means no soap from the supermarket - go to the health food store. Since changing many years ago, I do not get anywhere near the soap scum from non natural soaps which means I clean my shower in about 2 minutes. Sometimes I can also go more than 2 weeks without cleaning...natural soaps do make a huge difference to shower cleaning. Would love to know if others have experienced this. I must add, I clean my shower with an Enjo shower it! You only need water to get the glove working and soap scum comes off in a flash. Obviously if your shower is covered it will take longer than my 2 minutes the first time, but after that you'll find it really easy. I've also used Eco Bubbly mix in the shower which I found didn't have quite enough power but was good at loosening things up so not as much scrubbing was required.
I must add, this post was inspired by The Spotted Sparrows post on eco stove cleaning, check out instructions here. Thanks for the reminder and tip!

Please feel free to post your own eco tips in the comments, I would love to have some new ones to use!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eco-friendly hand made wrapping paper

Wow, 2 posts this week! That's a first. OK, as promised, here's the tute on making your own wrapping paper...of course, it's eco-friendly.

I last made this paper about 7 - 8 years ago so I made a few mistakes when giving it a go..but...that means you won't! Right??! If you decide to give this a go, I'd love to see the results. I'm sure they'll be better than mine :-)

this paper is in keeping with my "pear tree" Christmas tree shown in my last post and uses a pear as a stamp. This is super easy...promise! Remember, you need to allow time for the paint to dry before using so take this into account. Using less paint and a hair dryer will give a better result in less time.

1. Gather your supplies

 recycled brown kraft paper to cover your gifts (I collect this but for this tutorial I found some cheap rolls for AUD$2 at The Reject Shop in Australia)

artist paint - I used Jo Sonia's Matte Fluid Acrylic in Burnished Copper. I like a slight glean to the paint and in the past have added the artists glitter to other colours to get that sparkly look. I can't remember the name (sorry) but will update if I can find it, or someone tells me.

1 x paint brush - doesn't matter what size, type. I used an old pastry brush (yes, I was desperate as I forgot this bit)

Choose your pear (real) - be picky when selecting your pear, you will cut it in half to print it so there a few things you need to consider: needs to be firm (not overly ripe), needs to have a good shape for stamping (I like accentuated curves), I also like it to have a stem as I think this adds to the print.

2. Roll out your paper and secure with whatever is available (I used my paint tins from my knife blocks).

3. Cut pear in half, if you're clever you may be able to slice the stem in half if using so you have 2 stamps the same. I wasn't (actually the phone was ringing) so I have one stamp with stem and one without. Doesn't matter.

4. Paint the cut side of the pear with paint - less is more - dries quicker, time is everything to me! I also like the washed out look. Ensure all bits including the stem are covered. Stamp onto the paper in random patterns, ensuring you press the stem down along it's length if you have the stem attached. You will probably find you can get 3 or 4 stamps out of each paint coating. Continue painting and stamping until you're finished...or the pear becomes soggy and the juice starts escaping onto the paper (it happened to me!).

5. You can add text to the pattern between the pears such as "partridge in a pear tree" etc...I'm not an artist and my writing is awful so I just go with the pears.

6. Allow to dry. Use a hair dryer if you have to. Wrap your present and tie with jute or string to complete the look.

7. Done! How easy was that???! Time for a glass of sparkling...Christmas is WRAPPED! Yey!

Now onto truffle making...let the fun begin! Recipe next week.

Credits: Download the gorgeous orange star gift tags attached to the gifts above from the fabulous blog, How About Orange, Orange felt ornament hand made by me, Jute Christmas Trees hand made by me, Orange Japanese Silk and Organic hand printed turquoise linen Art Frames available for purchase here, Wooden Pear Tree available here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

It's been a long time since my last post but like everyone, the lead up to the "big day" next week has taken time. For those who, like me, work 2 jobs, it's always a relief when you get to the point to say "all done!". I'm almost at that point now, now if only I can get my kitchen and lounge room back from paint tins, fabric scraps, paper cut offs etc. I thought I'd give you a little look into what making an eco-friendly knife block looks like in my little 1 bedroom unit near the beach in Sydney. Needless to say, until I pack away and clean up, no Christmas truffles will be made! Who else has a kitchen/lounge/dining room/bedroom that takes on a similar transformation??

Next on my list of things to do:
1. print eco-friendly Christmas paper (will blog a tutorial on this per the gorgeous April's request from A Thoughtful Life)
2. make coconut christmas truffles (stay tuned for the recipe - these are gorgeous and easy to make)
3. Wrap presents and place under the pear tree (see above) so it actually starts to feel like Christmas
4. Buy some sparkling Christmas lights for said pear tree...and some other "sparkling" to drink on Christmas Eve under the pear tree.