Thursday, August 29, 2013

An Idea Whose Time has Finally Come



I don't know about you, but I have a fairly long lag time between having an idea and executing that idea. I think through over and over how I will actualize my idea. When I think I've finally got it figured out I give it a go. Did I mention my lag times range from 6 months to a couple of years?

Crazy? Probably. I think it's because I am a bit of a perfectionist and I don't like to waste ANYTHING.

I've had the idea for Australian animal finger puppets in my head for a while now. A seemingly simple idea, but for me it was about how I was going to actualize key characteristics of each animal so they would be immediately recognizable and deciding what to hand sew and the colours of felt to use.


I'm not sure why but a few weeks ago, it was an idea whose time had come. In the space of a couple of hours I created three of six animal prototypes. I have three more to create, but at least I have sketched them on paper and identified felt colours.

Wonder which idea will be next:) Cyndy Pin It

Friday, August 23, 2013

Waiting for the Fairies


Although still winter here there have been a few glimpses of spring lately. Middle and littlest took advantage of the most recent spring like day to make a fairy garden.



Hope the fairies like it:) Cyndy Pin It

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


This year my littlest turned 5 and had her first proper birthday party. She's been planning it since late last year. Settling on a theme took a bit of time. She started with princess dress-up, but in the end went with rainbow (good for boys and girls).

I may have helped her along in her decision by offering to make her the rainbow cake for her birthday. You know the one, 7 layers of cake, each one a colour of the rainbow? Yeah, that one:)


So the day before her party we (OK I) spent all day making and baking 7 cakes. Below is the butter cake recipe I used, but really you could use any butter/vanilla/white cake recipe or even packet cake mix as really, this cake is about the colour.

While the cake had drama, it wasn't that hard to make. What it mostly took was time. My middle has already requested one for her birthday next year:)

Now my oldest was more taken with the cupcakes. The cupcakes, you ask? Yes, I also made cupcakes:) These didn't have a rainbow inside, but on the outside. I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe (see below) and then decorated them with butter cream icing and "sour strips." Again, very easy to make.


I have to admit most of the children at the party picked the cupcake....until they saw the inside of the cake:) Cyndy

Rainbow Cake Recipe
250g butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease, flour and line with baking paper your pans. I used 30 cm (base) round pans, which made each layer about 2 cm.

Beat butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy with a mixer. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in flour and milk alternately until combined.

This recipe made enough for four layers (but, I could only bake two cakes at a time). Divide batter between 4 bowls. Tint each portion a different colour in the rainbow (we did red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple). Spread 1 portion into 1 prepared cake pan. Repeat with remaining portion. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway during cooking, or until cooked through.
Remove from oven when done, let cakes cool and turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Wash and dry cake pans. Grease and line with baking paper. Repeat with remaining batter.

Once cakes are cool, place purple layer on bottom. Frost top with icing of choice (I was so tired at that point I will admit I used Betty Crocker icing:) Repeat placing layers in rainbow order. Once you have built your rainbow tower, ice the entire cake and sprinkle hundreds and thousands on the top.

Rainbow Cupcake Recipe
2 1/2 cups plain four
1 1/4 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place rainbow coloured cup cake liners in muffin pan (this will make 24 cupcakes).

Sift flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and warm water. Beat on low speed until smooth and combined. The batter will seem runny, but don't worry, these are the best chocolate cupcakes ever:)

Pour batter into cupcake liners. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes.

Make butter cream icing. Tint one portion light blue and leave another portion white. Once cool, frost each cupcake with the blue icing. Then use sour strips (or similar flexible coloured candy) as rainbows, bending and pushing first one end and then the other into the frosting. Pipe "clouds" around each end to help anchor it on the cupcake.
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

2013 Hottie Challenge


The 2013 Hottie Challenge is here! I'm in, are you? The aim of the Challenge is to make a hottie cover (that's a hot water bottle cover for all you non Australians:), which will be exhibited in the gallery space at Open Drawer Art Textiles and Learning Centre in Melbourne from Friday July 5th.

The finished hotties are sold to raise funds for the Margaret Pratt Foundation. The Margaret Pratt Foundation Heart Lung Transplant Trust is a registered charity whose aim is to encourage, develop and maintain Australia’s world class expertise in the field of organ transplantation by supporting research that addresses the problems faced by children and adults after heart and lung transplant.

The Foundation has donated $850,000 to date to promote research into the causes and prevention of chronic lung rejection. The Foundation provides funds for the researchers working at the Alfred Hospital, right here in Melbourne.
 
I participated in the last challenge in 2011. I found out about it from Cam at CurlyPops. It is a cause close to her heart. In 2011 Cam was getting ready to go on the lung transplant waiting list. About two months ago her wait came to an end and she now has a brand new pair of lungs. I can't even imagine how amazing that must be!
 
Cam is again organising a group entry for the challenge . In 2011 63 bloggers participated. She is hoping to surpass that number this year. What could be better than crafting for good? So head over to Cam's blog to learn more about the Challenge and how you can get involved.

 
Meanwhile, I need to come up with a concept for my entry. In 2011 I embroidered Australian native flowers on wool felt. I have one idea rolling around in my head, but I'm still in thinking mode. Be sure to stop back later to see what I come up with:) Cyndy

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Friday, March 22, 2013

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns


Where has the month of March gone?! Only one week left of term one for the children, and next weekend is Easter, I can hardly believe it!

While Easter conjures up thoughts of rabbits and eggs and chocolate it also means hot cross buns in our part of the world. I like the traditional ones with fruit. The children, of course, love the chocolate ones.

In my quest to make felt food with an Australian twist I decided to give hot cross buns a try. I also used this as a chance to test some new felt (100% wool from the lovely Plushka).



What do you think? Good enough to eat? Cyndy
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

I am a butterfly

 
(photograph via here, text added by me)

Life changes; sometimes it’s expected, sometimes it’s a surprise. Six years ago I left my career, my family and friends and moved overseas with my husband and children (expected). I then found myself pregnant with child number three (surprise!). I had planned to look for work after we had settled, but instead I was ready to go on maternity leave, so a stay at home mum I became.

For those who knew me in my previous life this probably seemed totally out of character, and honestly I never imagined that role for myself either. I had worked hard to build a career, a reputation in my chosen field, and came late to the child raising game (oldest was born when I was 35). I never considered the idea of not working, I wanted it all.
But with all the life changes 6 years ago, I did what I never thought I would do and became a stay at home mum.  For the last 6 years, I have been there for every moment of littlest's growth and development and I have thrown myself into my older children life, being there for every expo, school excursion, sporting event, and after school activity. I became that ever slightly annoying parent who did everything at her children's school, taking on volunteer leadership roles (school council and parent's association), coordinating fundraising activities and helping out in the classroom and around the school.
During these 6 years I also rediscovered my love of craft and handmade. It became my new creative outlet and a way for me to explore my fascination with my new home, Australia. Again, probably a surprise for those who knew me in my previous life. I started to blog, I started an online shop or two, became a twitterer, facebooker and instagrammer. Discovered, in fact, a whole new community of people and in many ways friends to share and interact with about my everyday life.
And so I settled into a routine, a day to day life that I was comfortable with. But 6 years on life changes again. In January littlest started prep, so all three children are now at school full time (expected). And I have gotten a job (surprise!). I had always said when littlest started school I would go back to work, but I did imagine a slightly longer transition. For what every reason, that’s not what happened. Last week I went back to the paid workforce, three weeks from seeing the job advertised to actually getting it. And it was a total fluke that I even saw the position advertised. I never look in the job ads, but that day I did and there it was, the perfect transition job for me in my former field of work.
And really I couldn’t ask for anything more, I am working 4 days a week, school hours. I am getting to bring my almost 20 years of experience from overseas to where I live now, and a chance to learn so much more about my field of work and community here. It’s all so perfect that I am a little bit suspicious:)
I am a bit sad about not being able to spend as much time on the children’s school, but I will still try and do what I can (I do have one day a week off:).  I am also not sure what impact working will have on my creative outlet. I am hoping that having more to do will only make me more productive - I guess only time will tell:)

Cyndy (the butterfly)
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A New Needed Prop


If you have stopped by before you probably know I am an avid op shopper. I love finding things I need, like a bathing suit for middle or a casserole dish to replace one I have broken. I also love finding things I don't need, like this lovely tea cup.

Why don't I need it? Well, I don't drink tea. I know, I know, I have never liked tea. I think it's because I associate it with being sick (when I was a child my mum always gave me tea with honey when I was sick). Second of all, it's an orphan. No saucer, no other cups. Just a lonely little cup.

Turns out though, I was wrong about not needing it. I decided to take new picturesof my felt biscuit brooches for my Etsy shop  and the tea cup was the perfect prop, don't you think?:) Cyndy

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