Friday, August 29, 2008

Chair Makeover

I saw this ornate cast-iron chair in an antique shop, I love the details on it. I was excited because it didn't cost the earth! It was gold, I bought it. I had in mind to paint it white. I've seen one similar to this in a chic French homeware shop near the city, in its white painted glory. It really attracted my attention. I never went to that shop to see how much it costs, but I bet it's not cheap.With its gold cushion.............. Definitely have to make a new cushion cover for when it's white!!!!!!! After a coat or two of paint(i.e. Dulux "White On White"), it's transformed into a Swan, not that it was an ugly duckling before, but it just wouldn't fit in too well here in gold, would it? I quite like it without the cushion, you can see the details on the seat. Well, the cushion cover can wait a bit............. Hope you enjoyed this small project, till next time, happy weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Floral Bliss

When roses are having a rest, it's an opportunity to focus our attention on some other flowers. How about blue and white flowers? I love blue and white and pink flowers. They are very good colours together. My pink ruffled lavender is flowering as well. They are oh-so-pretty!Just when I thought I have absolutely no more roses, to my surprise and delight, the rosebuds I collected in a vase from pruning last week started to bloom over the weekend.So the focus was on them again. Delightful!!!! Well, wish you all a delightful week!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Berry Medley Throw-in Cake

Imagine a cake moistened by all sorts of berries oozing with juiciness and tangy sweet sensation every enjoyable mouthful you partake of it. Well, imagine no more, it's within your arms' reach to make it a reality. Get up and bake this with all ingredients that you already have in the pantry and fridge. Well, maybe all save one, the berries? You can use canned peaches, apples, pineapples instead? I had a handful of strawberries, a tiny bit of frozen raspberries and a cup of mixed berries in the freezer, so I used them.The result was mmm mmm MMMMMMM!
I don't remember where I got the recipe from, I think I must've copied it off a blog, thanks to the person who provided this recipe, credit to you. I did modify it a bit, I used butter instead of margarine, for the fact that I don't like cooking and baking with margarine. I also reduced the amount of sugar from one cup to 3/4 of a cup, I often do that.
Berry Medley Cake
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup caster/baker's sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour (I used self-raising flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
 (2 teaspoons if using self-raising flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

(1) Heat oven to 190C or 375F
(2) Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla till pale and creamy.
(3) Add flour, baking powder, salt and finally milk.
(4) Throw into 9x13 greased pan (I used round springform) Add about 2-3 cups mixed berries (strawberries are especially good)
(5) Bake for 30 minutes or till cake is springy when touched. Drizzle icing sugar/powdered sugar on top if desired. Easy does it!
From this......... (Bling) To this........ Now watch how quickly I devoured this piece of loveliness! Need I say more, no even a trace of crumb was left on my plate! It was "looovlei" indeed!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cultivating Godly Thoughts

"Keep love in your heart.
A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."
**Oscar Wilde*"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."
**1 Corinthians 13:1-3**Aren't these words profound? Hope you are having a fabulous week. These roses are absolute champions, they have held on to the end. I must say I've had such a long flowering season with them(starting October last year here) and I'm so proud of them. The day before yesterday when I was out there in the garden to give the last rose bushes the "chop", this Jude the Obscure was smiling high up on top of its cane in mid-air with strong fragrance I could smell and larger-than-life kind of look, as if to say "Thanks for all the hard work and good food you put in for us, here I am, your reward!" Growing roses has overall been a rewarding experience. Many people think I must be in the garden working my fingers raw everyday to be able to get the roses to look good, well I have to confess, I don't. I often neglect my roses and put them on hold while I have other more important things to attend to. I think roses are one of the toughest plants in the world, and they sometimes have to fend for themselves in my garden. Of course there are other much more important things in life than roses, roses are only a hobby, aren't they? Anyhoo, enjoy the rest of your week! Have a good one, my dear friends! The berry looking things are Rosehips
"You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love." **Henry Drummond**

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sweet Sweet Jars and other things

I love apothecary jars and I have collected a few which I filled with lollies (candy), placed on my kitchen bench. There are these British lollies shops here which I love, the greatest pleasure for me is simply looking at all the different sorts of lollies in jars of all shapes and sizes and marvelling and drooling over them. We are not big lolly eaters, so even though it might seem like too much temptation to have lollies in jars in such an easily accessible place, we're really quite safe. Besides, I think it doesn't hurt to have a lolly or two every now and then anyway, so long as you brush your teeth after eating them. In the larger jar on the right, the white lollies are Milkbottles(soft), in the littler straight jar are Kool Mints and Mentos' Fruit and Berries(chews). The green and white are Choc Mint Crunch(hard) and the choc biscuits are Arnott's Royals cut in halves.I can't believe strawberries are back already, they haven't been absent for too long; they are so very juicy and sweet. I can't have enough of them. As for the roses, well, I didn't get to prune all of them last week and they just kept on flowering, the pruning always takes longer than I expect. I had to saw many of my bushes as the stems are simply too thick and chunky for the secateurs. I really really need to prune them all though. Yesterday was my last day at work, so now hopefully I'll have a bit more time to get that done.Have you ever tried Bosnian bread? I got some to try today, it was still warm and straight out of the oven at the Afghani bakery I bought it from. It tasted a bit like Turkish bread, just thicker and round in shape. I ate it with Hommus dip and it was certainly very delicious. I have yet to ask my Bosnian friend if what we've got here is authentic compared to the original.I also can't believe the weekend is upon us already, where has all the time gone? Time seems to be flying faster and faster these days. I wish you all a happy and meaningful weekend, thanks for your visit, it's been great to have you here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Basic Healthy Cupcake/Muffin Recipe

Hi, hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics. I was driving today when I heard the news on the radio that Libby Trickett got her gold, I actually had tears welling up in my eyes listening to it, it was so moving. Yesterday when we were in the city I saw a Phelps Lane which I never noticed was there before, now all of a sudden it stood out! This rose (Tamora) is just one of those buds from the bouquet in the last post which opened up. Anyway, I just wanted to share this super simple recipe which I've found so handy, which I never thought to share because it's one of those recipes I use all the time and don't think to share. It's actually a cupcake and muffin interchangeable recipe. I've tried many buttery cupcake recipes and found them just a bit too greasy. I love this one as it is healthier and the best thing is it's extra easy to make and very satisfying for the tummy and tastebuds. I like the mix-all-in-one-bowl aspect to it, no need to beat sugar and butter together first, that sort of thing. You can truly whip these up in five minutes. You can add apples, any other fruit or berries you like, choc chips etc or make them bigger as muffins. Here I made them as a cross between cupcakes and muffins, they are cupcake size but I didn't want cupcake frosting, I added apples and white choc and milk choc chips instead.

Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster/ baker's sugar
1 egg (beaten)
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Mix all ingredients together to a smooth batter. Add whatever fruit or anything you like into batter. Spoon batter mix into paper cups, bake at 180C for 8-10 minutes or until cake is golden brown and springy when touched. This recipe makes 18 small cupcakes, 11 medium cupcakes and 6 muffins. Simply double or triple the recipe if larger amount is desired, this recipe works well doubled or tripled.Ok, would you like tea or coffee with that?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Catching Up

Today was my day off work, boy, I had so much catch-up I wanted to do. I managed to cross some off the to-do list, cleaning, cooking, baking, pruning roses were just a few of them.The roses in the front garden are all pruned, but the back garden is still only half-done. I get tons of rose hips like these, these are only samples of a tiny portion of them. Don't you just love the look of their fruity succulence? I do! They can be used for making jam, but I didn't try this time.The weather was simply gorgeous and perfect, a bit like an autumn day with very crisp cool air and soft sunshine. I love days like that, I felt so very energetic and alive and wanted to do many many things, only if I had more time. I took a little break and put the last of my winter roses together for some photos while my roast lamb dinner is cooking in the oven. The rose bushes were mostly stripped of their foliage due to the cold, they looked rather naked; so it was good they got pruned and await the hope of a new start in the Spring. I couldn't believe I still got a bouquet out of them at this time of the year.My side courtyard garden is evergreen, this has been planned so I can see "green" even when it's really cold.
Ah! It's time to have a cup of tea. The Apple and White Choc Chip Muffins I baked earlier are all gone now that the kids are home from school, so I'll just have to settle with these store-bought double choc chip cookies with my cuppa. I like drinking coffee too, but because coffee tends to make me jumpy and I have to have sugar in my coffee, I end up drinking more tea than coffee, it's just a healthier choice for me. What about you? Which one do you drink more of?Oh! Now it's time to attend to the vegetables part of the roast dinner, I'll have to go, tata. Have a great week, my dear friends.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Scrapbook Album

It's been eons since my last post, one of the reasons is my friend has asked me to help in a school canteen for a few weeks while this other lady is on long-service leave. The lady I work with is simply fantastic and we get on like a house on fire, so it's really pleasant going to work. My blog has been neglected a bit as I work during my kids' school hours and when I finish work, it's time for them to come home too. So as a result I haven't been able to spend my normal spare time taking photos and blogging. I really miss visiting your blogs as well.
Another reason is I've been trying to put together a Scrapbook Album for my mother-in-law's birthday. With elderly people like my mother-in-law who's got everything and been clearing out her house, I feel as if if I buy "things" for her, they'll just be an extra piece of junk. One of the things which she kept hanging onto are family photos and albums. So I thought she'd appreciate an album filled with our beautiful memories and plus I could make up for my lack of photo-sending during these last few years, and scrapbook album is just much more exciting to look at than just a normal photos album.
This baby is a real labour of love and a joint-effort of the kids and I. It took us a whole week and a half to complete everything. There are family pages as well, but for privacy purpose, I'll only show you these garden and rosy pages. We kept our embellishments to a minimum bearing in mind that they'd look too busy otherwise and taking into account the number of photos used as well. One thing we found out about scrapbooking is it's highly addictive, my kids kept asking me for more to do. So if you have never tried it, beware! Don't start unless you want to be hooked! I really enjoyed picking out all the bits and pieces of embellishments and stickers etc at the shops, it was time-consuming, but it was worth it.
Now on a different note, this picture below is a corner of our bedroom, I've finally got it up. I love three-dimensional things on the wall instead of pictures. The dress belongs to me, it's a loose-waisted summer white cotton dress with lilac rosettes, I don't only love white things in decor, but also white things on myself.