Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pizza Cookie

On Sunday we made a Pizza Cookie. We found the recipe in '500 Cookies' by Philipa Vanstone

Pizza Cookie

for the cookie
115g (4 oz) unsalted butter
200g (7 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
225g (8oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

for the topping
115g (4 oz) unsalted butter
250g (9 oz) icing sugar
115g (41/2 oz) cream cheese
150g (5 oz) sweets (m&ms, chocolate bits etc)
2 tbsp sugar strands (sprinkles)

Pre-heat the oven to 175oC (350oF) and line a 30cm (12 in) pizza tray or baking sheet with parchment.

Beat the butter and caster sugar together. Then add the egg and vanilla essence. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda and stir into the mixture. Spread the dough onto the pizza tray or baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack.

Beat the butter and icing sugar together and then beat in the cream cheese. Spread over the cooled cookie and decorate with sweets and sugar strands.

Makes 1 large cookie

The kids had a ball making it and predictably sweets entered the mouth at the same rate as being put on the cookie! I thought it might be a great party activity with smaller individual 'pizzas'.

You can see the two different eating styles - one preferred to eat it whole, the other picked all the sweets off first!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Miss

A very happy second birthday to my beautiful little girl. Where did those last two years go? Here are the invitations to her birthday.

And the cake I made.
Happy birthday my darling XXX

Anyone for tea?

How divine is this dress? It is a Lord & Taylor hand-embroidered tea dress, c.1918. It is a new listing from Vintage Textile, here's how it is described.

With their elaborate handwork, tea dresses from the early 20th century are treasured by today's collector. The dress retains its winsome beauty from 90 years ago when first worn to a garden party.

Nothing can compare with the textural quality of high-relief hand embroidery. The abundance of fine handwork on the dress appeals to our nostalgia for a more genteel lifestyle. The dress came from the upscale New York store Lord & Taylor.

The dress is fashioned from sheer cotton voile lavishly hand embroidered with raised flowers of padded satin stitch and French knots. The lace panels on the sleeves, skirt, and bodice are machine embroidered mesh. All the elements combine to produce an harmonious whole, a superb monochromatic design—a treasure of early handwork!

A delightful touch: rose satin ribbons show through the outer layer from underneath. The dress is constructed in layers that attach at the waist to a petersham. It closes in back with hooks and snaps.

I love the soft oatmeal color, gratifying in itself and also as a canvas for some other element of style. Contrast is an important principle in fashion. Violet, Duchess of Rutland (1910) had three daughters. Lady Diana Manners, the youngest and most beautiful child, was quite blond.
When she made her debut, she did not wear the pink-and-white dress standard for debutantes of the time but rather an off shade, like our oatmeal hue, that made Diana’s opalescent complexion seem even more glowing.

The condition is excellent and wearable.
Generous size. It measures: 40" bust, 32" waist 48" hip, 15 1/2" from the shoulder to the waist, and 51" from the shoulder to the hem.

Pop on over to Vintage Textile and check out the other lastest listings.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've worked out what is missing in my life... gumboots. Tamara Henriques William Morris Hunter Gumboots to be precise. I found them at DuckEgg Blue and apparently they are 'a must for everyone and are suitable for walking the dog, gardening, going to the opera or simply worn with jeans and a jumper!'. In that case, at $199 a pair, I'll take two!

Vale Jane McGrath

Photo: Craig Golding

I was saddened by the news that Jane McGrath had passed away. Jane was the wife of Australian cricketer Glen McGrath. She fought an 11 year battle with breast cancer that gave her secondary cancer in the hip and a brain tumor. She turned her illness into a campaign, establishing the McGrath Foundation which ensures that young women are encouraged to be breast aware and also raises the very valuable funds to support the placement of breast care nurses throughout rural and regional Australia to help women diagnosed with breast cancer.

I don't follow cricket but watched an episode of Andrew Denton's 'Enough Rope' and she was an inspiring interviewee. The following photo comes from that interview.

Don't you love the way he is looking at her? My thoughts and sympathy go out to Glenn, and their children James and Holly.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I have been tagged by Millie of The Laurel Hedge, a most beautiful blog. I don't think there is a picture on there that I don't sigh with pleasure when I see it.

The rules for this game are to link back to the person who tagged you, include the rules in your post, write six unimportant things about yourself then tag six other people at the end of your entry.

So, here goes:

1. I gave birth to my daughter in seven minutes with my husband playing the role of Obstetrician. Not the original plan, let me tell you!

2. I enjoy researching my family tree.

Image: Paul Duncan

3. My favourite person in history is Elizabeth I.

4. I collect vintage girls school novels

5. I would love to own/run a wedding reception venue in Australia that looks like this!

Image: Syon Park

6. If I won a large (and I mean really large) amount of money I would collect vintage clothing starting with this (priced at USD6,500!)

Image: Vintage Textile

I am passing on to:

Di @ The Cut Cloth

Gina @ Gingerbread

Katy @ Sycamore Stirrings

Anna @ Villa Anna

A-M @ The House that A-M Built

Megan @ Plum Pudding

Ladies, I do hope you play too but please don't feel any pressure to do so. I look forward to reading more about each of you.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Persephone Books

I was introduced to Persephone Books by a dear friend who gave me a copy of No. 21 "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day". The book is beautiful, both the words and the cover and end papers. All the Persephone book covers are a lovely grey with a cream label with the title wording. Inside the end papers are individually chosen for each title.

This is the end paper for "Miss PettigrewLives for a Day". Gorgeous isn't it?

The endpaper is a 1938 furnishing fabric by Marion Dorn; it is an elegant and light-hearted repeat patttern on a background of pale linen.

The complete list of books (and their end papers is found here. This is a little detail about the company.

Persephone prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women. The titles are chosen to appeal to busy women who rarely have time to spend in ever-larger bookshops and who would like to have access to a list of books designed to be neither too literary nor too commercial. The books are guaranteed to be readable, thought-provoking and impossible to forget.

The best thing is they are available on line through their site or can be ordered through your local bookstore. Also available through Book Depository in the UK who ship internationally for free!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Carrot and Banana Cake

Mmm... I found this recipe in the Women's Weekly "Bake" cookbook. I had some overripe bananas and I was looking for some recipes that had something healthy in them (trying to sneak an extra vegie into the kids). I'm hoping to try a zucchini loaf soon. This one jumped out as it had carrot as well as banana.
We all enjoyed it so much that I thought I would use it in the Recipe Swap Box by I Have To Say...

swap blogpost

Carrot and Banana Cake
from The Women's Weekly - "Bake"

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins (+ cooling time)
Serves: 10

1 1/4 cups (185g) plain flour
1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
1 teaspon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (80g) coarsely chopped roasted walnuts
3 eggs
2 cups (480g) coarsely grated carrot
1 cup (460g) mashed banana
1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil

Cream Cheese Frosting
90g cream cheese
90g butter, softened
1 cup (160g) icing sugar

Preheat oven to 170oC/150oC fan-forced. Grease base and side of 24cm round springform tin, line base with baking paper.

Sift flours, soda, spices and sugar into large bowl. Stir in nuts, eggs, carrot, banana and oil. Pour into tin.

Bake cake about 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake in tin.

Meanwhile, make cream cheese frosting. Top cake with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat cream cheese and butter in small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible, gradually beat in sifted icing sugar.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Drive Bys: Around the World (The Inspired Room)

Melissa of The Inspired Room has encouraged us to do drive bys in our local neighbourhood. It has certainly made me look at my neighbours houses in a different light and I would like to apologise to any neighbours I have held up on the streets as I slowed the car right down looking at an element on a particular house. We live in a fairly new subdivision with many of the houses being duplicated several times around the streets. These didn't inspire me to take photos, instead I was attracted to the gardens and their individuality. I began to focus on climbers that were trained into an attractive pattern.

This one is trained on the side of the garage, the middle bush needs to get a move on! The pattern is repeated on the side wall of the house, see below.

This one is using a Star Jasmine plant to create it. I think it is, I'm no horticulturalist! It does look effective though.

It is actually growing on both sides of the window.

My favourite is this one training around the feature on the wall.

As I was putting this together, I noticed that all of them were being grown on garage walls. Perhaps that is where the biggest expanse of wall is on a house.

Doing this drive by has certainly opened my eyes to the houses and gardens in my area. I hope to participate in any others Melissa organises. She mentioned she would nominate certain elements we would have to capture. I look forward to it. Now all I have to do is work out how to have my post participate!

Weekend visitors

These were some of the lovely visitors to my garden over the weekend. These guys are Rainbow Lorikeets. Unfortunately I didn't manage to capture a photograph of the gorgeous Crimson rosellas like these

Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm reading...

Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop

I adore the Black Jewels books and am only a couple of pages in. I have that wonderful feeling of re-meeting old characters (friends) and knowning I have the whole book to read and enjoy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chantilly lace/tulle gown, c.1905

How beautiful is this gown? I have been admiring it for some time on the Vintage Textile website. Not possible to buy, even with the Aussie Dollar nearing equal to the US Dollar. Here is the description:

Black Chantilly lace has always been associated with romance and mystery. When combined with black tulle in a gown, Chantilly lace makes a dramatic statement. This is the sort of grand gown that you would have worn if you had been born into the elite New York society depicted by Edith Wharton in House of Mirth (1905).

This gown is extra special for two reasons: the unusual addition of colorful floral appliqués; and the use of black velvet bands to highlight the texture. The gown is totally lined with écru silk. This allows all the textural elements—Chantilly lace inserts and appliqués, rows of tucks, and black velvet ribbon bands—to stand out.

The bodice has the full pigeon-breasted front typical of the period. The skirt is cut longer and fuller in back, forming a small train. The boned bodice closes with hooks on one side of the front. The skirt closes with hooks in back.
The condition is very good to excellent. In the lining of the bodice are several patches and some minor splits. Luckily, the skirt lining is in excellent shape and does not need to be replaced.

It measures: 36" bust, 25" bodice waist, 14 1/2" sleeve length, 16" from the shoulder to the bodice waist, 28" skirt waist, full in the hip, and 42" skirt front length.

*sigh* One of the many things I would buy should I win the lottery!

Wild Confetti Print Vintage 60s Swimsuit

How gorgeous is this swimsuit? I recently discovered LuciteBox an online vintage clothing store and found the above suit, among other gorgeous things. Here's the description of it:

This swimsuit is bursting with fun. We dig the explosive confetti print in pink, purple, and green over little bold rectangular blocks of color. This is a good swimsuit made by Cole of California sometime in the 60s. It's made of cotton, fully lined and zips up the back with a long nylon zipper. There's a little rope belt that dresses it up nicely. The swimsuit has boy cut legs with built-in panties. It's well made with a built-in bra that has cups that actually snap out with tiny concealed snaps. The sides are smocked with elastic shirring.Bold and graphic, we think this suit ought to add a blast of excitement to any pool party.

Pop over and check out the lovely vintage items.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I was cooking and Little Miss was playing with her dolls house. Periodically I was looking up and checking on her when I notice the window behind was broken and she had a piece of glass in her hand. Bolting over to her I brushed her down and checked her over for any glass shards, luckily nothing. I have no idea how it happened. She wasn't banging anything and there was no sound of breaking glass. It should be repaired before 5.00pm today thankfully.

My Super Hero

Here's my superhero. He tells me he is a superhero 'cause he has superpowers. Fair enough, can't argue with that. Certainly he seems to have a power that tells him exactly when I am distracted and that is the moment he gets into mischief!

He woke the other night when I checked on him before I went to bed. He reached out to me and said "Mummy, you have the sweetest kisses". Enough to make a mummy tear up!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Golden Syrup Biscuits

A girlfriend and I arranged to get together at my house the other day and when I went to make something yummy for us to munch on, I realised I didn't have any eggs. I flicked through my new copy of The Women's Weekly "Bake" and found "Maple Syrup Butter Cookies" which didn't require any eggs. Only I didn't have maple syrup either. Not to worry, I used Golden Syrup instead. They were very yummy and I've made them about three times since, including Saturday's batch some in the photo below.

Maple-Syrup butter cookes

125g butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup (130g golden syrup)
3/4 cup (110g) plain flour
1/4 cup (35g) cornflour

Preheat oven to 18OOc/160Oc fan-forced. Grease oven trays; line with baking paper.

Beat butter, extract and maple syrup in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy; stir in sifted flours.

Drop teaspoon sized balls onto trays.

Bake cookies about 15 mins. Cool on trays.

Jam Drops

I borrowed "500 Cookies" recipe book by Philippa Vanstone on Friday from the local library. I love making biscuits almost as much as I love making cupcakes. The beauty of biscuits is that they are instantly gratifying. Ususally takes only about 10 mins to make then about the same in the oven. Cool for a couple of minutes and then pop one in the mouth!! I think I liked the strawberry jam over the apricot jam but as the recipe made 2 dozen it was nice to have a choice.

I am not sure about the copyright on listing recipes, but the protocol from checking out other blogs seems to be as long as it is credited it is OK, so here goes.

Jam Drops (500 Cookies, Philippa Vanstone)

115g (4oz) unsalted butter
150g (5 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
200g (7 oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
75g (3 oz) jam, any flavour

Pre-heat oven to 175Oc (350OF). Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.

Sift the flour and baking powder and stir into the butter mixture. Roll the mixture into balls and place them at least 5cm (2 in) apart onthe baking sheets.

Press a finger into each ball and fill the hole with a little jam. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. Add a little more jam while the bookies are still warm.

Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for four to five days.

Makes: 2 dozen

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics

How beautiful are the fabrics at the etsy shop Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics? I popped over to it after reading Randi's blog I have to say... and was double excited to learn she would be stocking the previously mentioned Farmer's Market fabrics. Yay!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Farmers Market

How beautiful are these fabrics? They are the new range by Sandi Henderson. She talks about the range in her blog Portabello Pixie. They should be available in fabric stores which also stock Michael Miller fabrics, I couldn't find an Australian store that stocked the new range, but QFD stocks her Ginger Blossom range.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Chocolate Macaroons

Don't they look great? I spent Saturday baking desserts for my nephew's christening. These would have to be one of my favourite things to cook. I recently discovered them in Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess". Macaroons were something I always wanted to try after reading about them in countless Enid Blyton books, although they were generally coconut macaroons. My preference for chocolate overroad authenticity!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Easy Banana Cake

My mother, the Clean Queen, bought some bananas the other day that turned out to be somewhat less that average so I decided to cut out the bits that were still nice and make a banana cake. I was feeling lazy so I found the easiest recipe I could.

Mixed it up in a flash in the trusty Sunbeam Mixmaster (I know, the purists would gasp in horror that it isn't a Kitchenaid but I don't have the dollars for one of those!)

Flopped it the tin.
Popped it in the oven and it came out like this.

Mmmm the smell is gorgeous. It went perfectly with a cup of tea looking like this.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Springy Flower Pot Desserts

Oh my goodness, how gorgeous are these? These are made with pound cake, ice cream and crushed oreo cookies inside. Instructions on how to make are from The Pioneer Woman. I am going to make these for Mother's Day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

Finally I managed to see this movie. I loved it! I'm a sucker for a period flick anyway but set in one of my favourite times in history it was always going to be a winner for me. The costumes were sumptuous. Here's the official website.

It makes me long for a costume of my own. Perhaps a pattern from Margot Anderson's "Historic Costume Patterns or Lynn McMaster's hat patterns.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fantastic Toys

I have to share the most gorgeous paper toys ever. Fantastic Toys by Timothy Haugen link here http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=38732. These are so delightful. I purchased the Mushroom Cottage Paper Playset

and I'm going to base Zoe's second birthday party around them. I just couldn't resist!

And so to Blog...

Ok, I think I have worked out how to use this whole blog thing. I've been reading a few and I've worked out which types of blogs work for me. Keep it short, a couple of good photos and keep it interesting.

So I'm still not there yet. I have made the page a little more interesting with links to different things I like... heaps more to go but it's 11.00pm and I need some sleep!
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