Housewife, cheapskate, crafter, mum. Trying not to go crazy, trying not to go broke.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Creative Space

This week, (a bit late due to 'technical difficulties) my creative space has involved experimenting with different flavours in my new savoury cracker recipe.
So far, the sesame has got to be the winner!  But I've yet to try the caraway...
I've also been inspired by the sunny weather to begin work on a refashion of this robe, I thought the fabric was too "groovy" to be confined to my house, so it is slowly turning into a retro-style mini dress.  More pics when its finished!
 I'm going to check out more creativity over at Kootoyoo!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Cracking Success!

As you know I was given a challenge (no, not how many titles with 'cracker' puns in them), but to do some savoury baking.  My first three tries were less than perfect - Me "Have one, they're delicious", Spawn "No.  They are NOT delicious."
 But finally I have produced something which is both easy and tasty.  Me - "Do you like my crackers?", Spawn replied "Yes.  They are very nice."
I began with this recipe, but ended up with the recipe below.
Garlic Crackers
1/2 cup self-raising wholemeal flour
1/2 cup white plain flour
80ml water
40ml olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix together (add a little more flour if too sticky), roll out as thinly as possible, place on baking tray, bake 15 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 200C. 
 When it comes out of the oven, crack into pieces.  If it doesn't crack, it needs more time in the oven.
They are very more-ish.  With only 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the dough, and nothing else sprinkled on top, it has made me realize how heavily salted commercial snacks are.  For a family like mine with strong history of high blood pressure, this has been an important exercise.  I will definitely be experimenting with different flavours grains for the next batch!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gone Crackers for Derby!

 This weekend I...
Began work on a challenge I've been given to bake some savoury snacks, when I achieve a result I'm really happy with I'll share it.  
These water crackers were too thick and bland.
 These cheese and herb were too dry, and needed salt.  They didn't have any for health reasons (and because I lost the salt.)
 And on Sunday I took a break from being responsible housewife and mother, and slipped far too enthusiastically into the role of NUMBER ONE FAN!  Woot Woot!
I had a blast, and I have  to say thanks for the team of people behind me.  The White Cloud for taking on the spawn, Lil' Sis for giving her a break, BFF for helping out with dinner/bath/bedtime, and Uncle Gocky for driving me there and back.  Thanks everyone!  And it also makes me think, if it took four people to do my job, I'm not doing too bad.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Go Team!

 Ta Da!
I found this jacket in my team colour at the op shop for a few dollars, but I hate big brand names on clothes, so when I found out I would actually be able to see my team bout, I got to work! 
 I chopped up one of the Panda's freebie (from some supplier) t-shirts, and covered the big logo across the back.  Next, inspired by Wendy's pillowcase, and this tutorial, I used contact to mask my lettering (because I couldn't find waxed paper in the supermarket.)
 I squeezed my bottle of fabric paint into a spray bottle, added enough water to get it to go up the tube, and went crazy!  Then waited for it to dry, peeled off the contact letters, and heat set it in the drier.
 I'm pretty pleased with the result, and now I'm thinking... how cool would it look if I did my derby name (Screamstress - duh) on a black top, with RED paint!  Horrible!  Fantastic!

Footnote - I VERY carelessly left the spray bottle with black fabric paint in it, in the yard.  Of course I was punished when the spawn found it, and sprayed each other AND the house.  Now they have black blotchy faces and look like they have the plague!  I would have taken photos, but I was too busy having a fit...

What Are You Up To?

I'll let you know if it works!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Creative Secret

My creative space this week has been filled with secrets...
Secretly transforming a doona cover into a derby skirt, and making a surprise vest for a certain referee (or Team Zebra as they're known in derby), and my secret love affair with the humble meringue continues...
brown sugar meringues...
chocolate caterpillar meringues, mmmmm.  For recipes, click here.
I wonder what has inspired everyone else this week over at Kootoyoo?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cake of Ages, with bonus Nudity

If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be the Healthy Applesauce Carrot Cake (with 1 cup sultanas and 1/2 cup walnuts added) I tried for the first time this morning.  Oh, spice, zest, hits of sweet sultanas, buttery crunchy walnuts, crisp edge, moist light centre, smooth cream cheese icing,  I promise to adore thee, in sickness and in health, as long as I shall live.
And what were the spawn doing, as I was lost in cake induced raptures?  Taking their clothes off for a spot of nude trampoling, of course!
I must point out that it reached a top of 8 degrees centigrade today, and they did it 30 seconds before the real estate agent came to the door for a house inspection.  Ah Spawn, spice, zest, hits of sweetness, random nuttiness, I promise to adore you too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Meringues in the Morning

We made masks.  From an empty egg carton.  At 7am in the morning.  (Apologies for the morning hair.)
It just seemed like the thing to do while we were waiting for our egg whites to come to room temperature.
This story actually begins last night, when I somehow got it in my head to try meringue making.  So this morning, we gave it a shot.
 For our first attempt, they turned out pretty well.  They were definitely eaten quickly enough!  And whilst they're definitely not in the 'healthy' category, they are a harmless little piece of air and sugar.  Next batch I'm going to try one of the variations.

Mini Meringues Makes 24
2 egg whites (at room temperature), 1/2 cup caster sugar, pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
In a non-plastic bowl, beat whites until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, then beat for another 2-3 minutes until mixture is stiff and glossy. Pipe, or place with a teaspoon on tray with baking paper. Bake 30-45 minutes. Leave to cool in oven, about 1 hour.
Colour them with food colouring.
Fold in 1 tbs of cocoa.
Use brown sugar in place of caster sugar.
Mix through 2 tsp finely grated orange rind.
This recipe is a mix of this one from and this one from

It was a lovely day today, a bit of morning sunshine, a bit of yardwork, a bit of cooking.  I can feel the days slowly getting longer, and spring is on its way!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

As Everybody Knows By Now...

As everybody knows by now, I was behaving very badly on the weekend. 
 So I thought I would do a bit of sucking up...
and what better way to say 'sorry' than with baked goods!

(This is actually a teacake, I'm always impressed with how light it is. It is much better topped with the traditional cinnamon and sugar, than my sucky icing.)
Nana O's Teacake
Beat one egg and 1/3 cup sugar until frothy.
Add 1tsp vanilla essence, and 1/2 cup milk.
Then add halfway between 3/4 and 1 cup of self raising flour.
Lastly add 1 tbs melted butter.
Pour into a greased loaf or small cake tin, bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes.
While hot rub with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

This post is for Jasmine, I wish that everyone who behaves badly apologized with cake!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Late Night Applique

As promised, the finished result of my late night applique.  Turned out pretty good if I say so myself!  This one will be listed on my Etsy store, because my house is filling up with roller derby costumes.  If you would like to see where this one started, there are more pictures on Wardrobe Refashion.
 At my favourite op-shop, I scored this fabric, 1.5m x 3m for only $2.  Its like the universe WANTS me to start making pink ruffled shorts and jumpsuits.  Who am I to argue with the universe?

The Sunshine Award Game

Good Morning!  I have been tagged in the sunshine award game by Emma at Frog, Goose and Bear.
I have to tell you seven things that you may not know about me.  So here we go:
1. I didn't eat mushrooms for about five years after mistaking a slug for a mushroom.
2. The work I'm most proud of is this quilt I made 100% by hand for my Dad.  It is the view of some ruins as seen through the crumbling stonework of another ruined building.  It is based on the cover photograph from his book, Farina From Gibbers to Ghost Town.

3. I got my car licence when I was 31 and had 3 children.  Before that, I rode a vespa style scooter around Melbourne.
4. My favourite book is The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
5. I was Dux of my high school, dropped out half way through my uni degree, then worked at McDonalds.
6. When I was younger, I was always self conscious of my rosy red cheeks.
7. I love singing very loudly, but only do so occasionally when I'm excited about something.

And now I'm passing on the award to:
Made in Australia by Stephanie
All Toile and No Reward
Art and Sole
 I've only picked three as the spawn are nipping at my heels, but I look forward to finding a little more about you all!  Completely no pressure though! 

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Showers with the Chance of Crazy Late in the Day

    This weekend I
    • ate a whole packet of chocolate biscuits
    • drank vodka and cordial during the kids bathtime
    • told the Panda I hated him
    • made a revolting meatloaf
    • ran away
    • melted a big hole in my washing basket in front of the heater
    • cried and got in bed
    • was forgiven
    • went to a party with wonderful rollergirls
    • refashioned a shrunk jumper into a warm vest
    • went for a nature walk with the spawn
    and now I'm working on appliqueing a derby skirt.  Sewing calms the savage beast - pop in tomorrow to see how it turns out.
      How was your weekend?

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Bumblebees Shouldn't Be Able to Fly

    According to modern science, bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly.  But of course they can.  For so many reasons, these shorts should be declared a complete fashion disaster.
    But they're not.  I don't know why they work, but strangely they do.
     I made them from a vintage maxi skirt late at night.  (Maybe that's obvious!)  The pattern is the bottom half of a jumpsuit pattern, and its a lovely shape, so soon I think I will make it up.  Only in the land of derby can I delight in dress-ups!
    And now because I have *confession* already got 12 pairs of roller derby shorts, I'm going to list them on my Etsy store to see what the universe says.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    (I Thought It Was) My Creative Space

    I thought it was My Creative Space...but I found this when I uploaded my photos...
    Its a photo I didn't take, featuring my 3 year old son's truck, and the magnet that opens the childlock on the TV cabinet, both hiding under MY sewing machine. 
    This is what I have been working on.  Scary huh? Tune in tomorrow to see how it turns out!

    See what Kirsty's noticed next, over at Kootoyoo.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Coolest Biscuits Ever!

    Who can guess what came in the mail yesterday?
    I thought I should show you what I've been using for the icing.
    It is just a cone made of baking paper, filled, then folded in from the sides.

     On a slightly different topic, I had an anonymous comment about golden syrup on my damper post, and its been bugging me!  Who are you, secret reader?  I had a golden syrup dumpling when I was young, so long ago I don't know what they taste like anymore.  But in my memory it is simple, rustic, sweet.
      Anyone else harbouring a secret nostalgia?
    Update: The wonderful Curlypops baked Golden Syrup Dumplings for me! (Virtually)  They look absolutely delicious, and she's got a great recipe too!

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    An Old Friend, A New Blog

     I'd like to introduce someone.  She's been the Bette to my Barbara, the Patsy to my Edina, the Agnetha to my Frida.
    She came on family summer holidays,
    together we survived the great hair-disaster of '92,
    and numerous New Year's Eves.
    She zipped up my wedding dress, and held my hand at Dad's funeral.
    So, a toast to friendship!
    And because she looks up to me so much (ha ha teasing!) she has begun her own blog, over at, so go on over and see what she's up to.*  Be sure to scroll right down to the bottom and check out some awesome retro album covers.

      Max, the wondeful world of blog awaits, here are some jumping off points!
    Melbourne Epicure beautiful photos and much deliciousness.
    EcoMILF dedicated to eco-friendliness and great vegetarian ideas.
    Littegreenbums Winner of the Screamstress Award for Allround Awesomeness
    Art and Sole amazing paperart and fantastic cooking too.

    *I take NO responsibility for opinions or profanities expressed by Max, luv ya!

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Respectable Jumper Into Hot Skirt and Leggings

    When I bought this jumper at the op-shop, I thought it would come in handy for looking respectable.  Turns out, I don't really like respectable, because I hate this jumper and never wear it.  Also, I think the silly upside down drawstring makes my boobs look saggy (yes, its the jumper!)
     So today I've turned it into a skirt and leggings.  This is not a full tutorial, but you can see the basic steps.
    Decide how long you want your skirt, and cut.
    Put on your 'skirt' inside out and take in some darts at the side seams to fit.
    I used a jersey offcut to make an elastic casing.  Thats the skirt done.
    Now for leggings, I lay an existing pair of leggings on the jumper sleeves, lining up the crotch with the underarm.  Then I just cut around, sew the centre front and centre back seams, and pop some elastic around the top!
    (The shoulder seam does create an odd pattern when you use a striped jumper.)
     Next step, put on wonderful new outfits and look fabulous!
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