Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Peachy Keen Baking Queen

These past few weeks I have been OBSESSED with baking. I used to love baking, but I went off it for a couple of months, occasionally baking the odd birthday cake etc. Now I have gone from one extreme to the other and perhaps things have gotten a little out of hand - It started with the bagels, delicious, chewy bagels! I made about a dozen of them - 6 plain and 6 caramelized onion (yum!).

The week after that I decided to make my own bread. I made a small wholemeal loaf, with wattle seed, nutmeg and poppy seed. It was my first attempt at bread making, and I was surprised at how easy it was. Don't get me wrong, all the kneading was tough work and you do have to wait a long time for it to rise, but it’s worth the wait. The bread was so tasty! So tasty that I accidentally ate it all in 2 days, then made another!

I decided to cool it down for a week with the baking (still managing to squeeze in a killer roast vegetable frittata and a breakfast bread pudding).

But then I found myself right back at it this weekend, luckily I was baking for someone else, so my waistline wasn't jeopardized once again.

I recently made a purchase from HeyYoYo of some cupcake liners and these adorable cupcake boxes that are in the shape of a French patisserie! I have been dying to use them, so when my friend’s birthday rolled around, I jumped at the opportunity. And really, who wouldn’t love cupcakes out of this box? HeyYoYo is such an awesome shop, particuarly if you like kitsch baking accessories, as I do. The shop is jam packed with crazy, cute knick knacks! I’m not even sure what to do with half the stuff they sell, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to buy it all.

I made vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to go in the box. I used the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Honestly, this is the best cupcake recipe I’ve ever worked with. Its fail safe! They turn out light, fluffy and flavorsome ever time, and I have tried hundreds of different recipes/techniques. I think the trick is making them similar to the way you would make a muffin, combining the butter and the dry ingredients then slowly adding the wet.

I also made individual caramelized peach pies – or peach cup-pies!- to take with me to my friend’s birthday. They taste so much better than they look, I swear! (thats a little pastry bird on top by the way.... looks a bit like a fish?)

As always, I went to the markets on Saturday morning and bought a whole bunch of peaches. They were selling for $10 a bag, and that’s a big bag! Soon peaches will be out of season, so I loaded up my bag and found as many ripe ones as possible.
Sweet fruit pies are so easy to make, and for some reason unknown to me, uncommon in Australia. In America, you just have to walk down the street and your bound to find a diner or restaurant that sells dessert pies (like Marie Calenders!). They know what they’re doing! In Australia, you mention that you’re making/bringing pies and everyone assumed they will be of the meat variety.

The pies, although fruit, were a hit. I made some for my family also – those ones I served hot with a big scoop of ice cream! Mmm!
I’m not sure if I mentioned that I am also a fit model for one of the labels the company I work for owns – and my measurements have to stay exactly the same. Last Friday, I got measured and I’m over 2cm on my hips….. I can't imagine why??  Maybe I should lay of the baked good for a week or two!

What are your favorite things to bake/make?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan Quake Appeal

We all know about the Quake and Tsunami that has recently struck Japan, I, like everyone else have been glued to the computer/TV reading and watching as the tragedy unfolds.

After reading Nette's request to help raise funds for the Japan quake appeal, I decided to follow in her footsteps and Raffle off my 1936 "Out to play-suit" for the cause.

Although its a small step, and a small contribution, every small bit helps. I know, that just doing something, anything, makes me feel the world better.

So, this is how it works, if you want to enter the raffle to win the play-suit, donate US$10 (which is about $9.90AUS) to 'Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund' organized by 'global giving'.
At the bottom of this post you will find a link with more information about how to participate.

Each entry must donate this value or greater to enter. Once you have donated, leave a comment at the bottom of this post, with you receipt number and a valid email address (you can write the address in the format of mymailname 'at' hotmail 'dot' com). Feel free to enter as many times as you like, and remember, be generous, and give as much as your purse string will allow, but like I said previously, every little bit counts.

The raffle closes at 12.00pm EDT 26th March.

The raffle being held here at Molly-Made is in cooperation with A Bit of This and a Bit of That.
We are in no way affiliated with global giving, that's just our chosen method of getting funds safely to the affected area.

If you are the lucky winner, this is what you will receive:

The 1936 "Out to Play-Suit". It's about a size M. The waist measurement is 28 inches and the bust is on the tight side of 35 inches. The hips are free. It is by no means suited for a large busted girl! It's made of a cotton/synthetic blend houndstooth that has a nice drape and soft feel. The lapels and waist line are decorated with black poly rick rack and the neck and back button up with tiny vintage cherry red buttons and loop holes (hand sewn!). There is also a side zip for entry.
If you don't think its suited to you, feel free to enter anyway, it may make a nice gift for someone else.
I know that in my previous post I bad mouthed it a bit, but it is actually quite a nice piece. My love for it has somewhat rekindled since then, when I saw all the lovely comments left here and on burdastyle, it even made "featured project" on burdastyle homepage for the day.

And please keep in mind, that this is not a professionally sewn garment, I'm still learning!

If the play-suit doesn't quite tickle your fancy, head over to Nette's place and check out the beautiful satin blouse that she is raffling off.

For help with the donation you can refer to this post

Thank you to everyone, in advance for your participation, your all gems!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Stylish Blogger Award

Thank You to the lovely Nette for awarding me "The Stylish Blogger Award", that was very sweet. She was also awarded, and passed this compliment onto 7 others. I loved reading the 7 facts about nette and seeing her adorable childhood pictures. Her blog is always so pretty!

So, as per the rules of the award, here are 7 facts about me that you may not have known -

1) I am a tea-a-holic. This goes as far as collecting pretty vintage teacups and teapots. I have enough to accomodate a very large tea party.

2) I was born in California, but grew up in Sydney.

3) I LOVE Harry Potter and secretly wish I could go to Howarts.

4) Once I graduate from Hogwarts I would like to Meet Mr. Darcy and live with him at pemberly.

5) As proven above, I have and always will have an over-active imagination.

6) I sleep walk quite often and wish I didn't, it leaves me very tired.

7) I have a bananaphobia, mostly this pertains to an empty banana peel that is slightly browning (shudder)

I would like to Pass on this award to my 7 regular blog haunts:


I look forwarding to finding out 7 new things about you all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

1936: Out to Play-Suit

And the 1936 playsuit saga comes to an end.... Thank god! and what a saga it has been. I have been sewing this garment on and off for three weeks now and I am quite happy see the back of it.

It's been difficult, not a lot difficult, but a little difficult to say the least. There was seam binding, hand sewing, altering, unpicking, altering again, and whats so unsatisfying about the whole affair, is that I'm not entirely certain that I even like it all that much.
Don't get me wrong, I don't hate it, the fit is fine, not to mention all the bound seams on the inside are beautiful (I can't help but smile like a giddy school girl in love when I look at them) But I just don't see myself wearing it that often.
I suppose after spending that much time on it, I am just disapointed that I'm not absolutely in love with it.
Maybe next summer I will think differently? Hopefully!

After all the sewing was completed, Natasha and I hit the park to take a few snaps. The Sunflowers I had bought from the markets for my "Its a Wrap" Skirt were still alive and sunny so we decided to take them with us.

Now, these I am happy with. I love Natasha's work. She has such a great eye. She came up with the idea of having me lay in the grass with all the sunflowers. Don't you think it looks a little Pushing daisies-esque? ( I LOVE that show)

I want to throw a big thank you out there to Natasha! She works crazy hard at university, yet still finds time to take photographs for me, not to mention she always knows exactly what image I have in my head without even asking, you rock Tash!

Check out her work here at Natasha Foster and her Camera.

So now that's over, what's next?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Its a Wrap... Well, Sort Of.

I promised you a playsuit, and a playsuit I will give you... Just not yet! I have been working solidly on it for two weeks now and although I am very very close to finishing (I only have to hem it) It has certainly been trying.

I was thrilled with the EvaDress pattern at first, but once I got stuck into it, I realised that the instructions were somewhat lacking; certain parts instructed "Attach Pattern A to Pattern B" where? How?
Perhaps people in 1936 were better seamstresses and didn't need as much guidance.

After much head scratching, cursing, arghing, and general frustration it started to come together. I then, however, stumbled upon a second set back - The fabric. Not the actual fabric itself, but the houndstooth print. Has anyone else ever worked with a fine houndstooth print before? Did it drive you insane?
It completely messes with your eyes. The more you look at it, the more you go cross eyed. I found that I could only work with it for an hour or two before getting a headache and having to take a break.

Here's a sneak preview of the lapels on the top half, evidence that I have achieved something.

Golly, I hope it's worth all the drama in the end! Now that summer has ended, I wonder if I will even have a chance to wear it...

With that said, and understandably so, I took a break half way through and made a quick wrap skirt. It was such a breeze!

Last week a colleague of mine gave me this fantastic green striped wrap skirt. And when I say fantastic, I mean truly fantastic! Its full and gathered and looks divine over a petticoat. Its an eye popping green and blue stripe, and slightly resembles the Aztec style skirts that were worn in the mid 50's. Every time I wear it out I received numerous compliments and "where did you get that"'s to which I can proudly reply, I got it for free!
Seeing as I loved the skirt so much, I decided to copy it. I traced out the patten and used an old bed sheet I picked up at an op shop on the central coast.

To copy and cut the pattern, and make the skirt it only took about 2 hours and all up cost $3!! I am very happy with it. As soon as I finished it I wore it to the growers market and bought sun flowers. I felt like adding a little sunshine to my apartment now that Summer is over.

Unfortuanly, I didn't have the talented Natasha Foster to take my pictures, so I apologize for the blurry snaps. The photos to come of my playsuit will be crystal clear, promise!
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