Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've been sewing, library bags and christmas stockings

My close group of girlfriends do KK within our group every year. We usually do a dinner with just the girls, no partner or children, so we have a proper gossip. I made these Christmas stockings for my close friend and her husband, who are having their first Christmas together as a married couple and have also just moved into their first house. At dinner, my lovely friend R also announced that she's expecting her first little bubba. I'm soooooo excited, it feels like i'm going to get a little niece or nephew, we've know each other since we started high schools and my friend is an only child, so we are particularly close.

I made these four library bags as Christmas gifts for some little children who are starting school next year. They can use them for school without fear of having them confused with anyone else or they can keep them to use when they visit their local libraries. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, they're very durable. I prefer the look of the name along the bottom, next time, i'll ensure the letters are small enough to fit along the bottom, like Leila and Zara's.

Excuse the photos, Mr Sweetpea changed the lens on the camera and this one doesn't zoom. I don't know how to change it back to the normal one that I like. Nevermind.

The library bags are going into my store as a custom made item as well. Finally my long neglected store will see some life.

Hope you are all having a fun and not too stressful lead up to Christmas. We went for our Santa photo this morning and couldn't get out of there fast enough. I picked the one photo in which sweetpea 1 hadn't actually wriggled out of Santa's arms and Sweetpea 2 wasn't screaming, and I mean REALLY screaming. Oh well, at least i've gotten a few more things off the list in the past 24 hours.

Mary xxx

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a LOT like Christmas

Our tree has been up for a little while, however last night I finished wrapping the last of the presents, although I still have a few little things to buy/make. I counted that I have 25 people to buy for, not including my two sweetpeas. Some of those people are getting more than one thing. No wonder Mr Sweetpea keeps asking me where all our money is going. I did suggest moving somewhere far away last weekend, in a huff. Preferably somewhere sunny and close to the beach. Perhaps this will make Mr Sweetpea reconsider, we surely couldn't post all of these gifts, hehe. All those gifts do look pretty under the tree though, although this was only for the purpose of the photo and they're all about to go back into the spare room/study/junk room so they remain intact, oh, and because Santa is brining them, of course.

Here are the Christmas chocolates I made. Don't they look lovely. I used silicone cupcake moulds to get that lovely shape, you can just put them on baking paper though. However, you can't use saucers, you will be forced to pry them of, chip by chip and eat them. Don't ask me how I know, I just do :)

Here is one part of a gift I am making. The other part is a book. Can you guess what this is going to be? I have another 5 of these to go, although as two are for my sweetpeas, who each have a massive haul of gifts (from Santa, to start shopping early is not a good idea if you just keep going, right up until Christmas), i'm not too phased if those two don't get finished in time for Christmas.

I hope everyone is enjoying the festive season and remembering those who are less fortunate at this time, financially or through bad news at this time.

Ending on a happier note, i'm off to make banana pancakes with grilled nectarines. Planning to mix mashed banana through the pancake batter and will top with the grilled nectarines with a little brown sugar and some vanilla yoghurt. Or not, just noticed the time, raisin toast it is, but I know what's for breakfast tomorrow, yum yum!

Hope you all have fantastic weekends lined up with plenty of good food, good friends and festive cheer!

Mary xxx

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Food Gifts

I am really great at planning, if I do say so myself. However, my performance on the follow through leaves a lot to be desired. Starting last year, my extended family decided that we would give an edible gift for each family and just buy gifts for the children. I'd been pushing for this (or KK's for the adults) for quite a few years now, as it seemed a bit crazy buying for each of my aunts and uncles etc. Everyone usually ended up getting little gifts which generally weren't that great. Not that they weren't appreciated, it was just that when buying for so many people, on a strict budget due to the number of gifts required, it was hard to find something truly useful or that would really be loved.

This year, i'm planning some super lovely hampers. Time will tell whether all of the elements get completed and they come together in time. Let me share the Christmassy goodness that I hope will get into each of the four hampers I need to create:

Raspberry and Lemon Cordial: image from

Almond Bread: Picture and recipe from

Peach and Vanilla Jam: picture and recipe from the lovely My Tartlette,

Bejewelled Chocolates: picture and instructions available at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who has oodles of fantastic ideas,

I'm also thinking of making quite a few extras to give as small gifts to people like the staff at the daycare centre that my girls go to. I think they'd look great wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon. They'd also look very christmassy if you used cranberries and pistaccio's as your "jewels", like in the nougat below.

Dulce De Leice: This is also from the very clever Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,

Pistaccio and Cranberry Nougat: This picture and an accompanying recipe are from, although I will be using Donna Hay's recipe from her "Christmas" book.

Poached Pears Infused with Cinnamon, Cloves and Star Annise: Picture from

One of the most difficult things so far has been sourcing the packinging (ie. bottles and jars etc). I bought a whole bunch of what I believe are preserving jars at the Reject Shop for $2 each, which is not too bad. I still need a whole bunch of smaller jars and smallish brown glass bottles for another Christmas project (more info to come shortly).

I have found a lovely idea for a gift basket that you can make from card.

Picture from the ever inspiring Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and instructions are at:

These boxes would look lovely filled with Christmas treats and wrapped with cellophane a lovely ribbon.

Hope that I've inspired you!

Have a great weekend, Mary xxx

P.S. Stay tuned for another post coming shortly which will show all of the lovely non-edible gifts that I hope to make in time for Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

1st Birthday Party

We've had some more celebrations over here at Chateau Sweetpea. Sweetpea "E" turned one. I spent a lot of time planning and unfortunately not quite as much time as I would have liked, executing my plans. I was actually still icing the cake as guests started arriving....

All done and dusted now, but a valuable lesson was learned. Plan well, but start executing those plans ASAP!

number one garland made by cutting out number one shapes and pegging them on to a piece of string, using mini pegs. I cut the shapes out whilst watching a movie which made this quite a quick and effective decoration.
Some of the spread. Cupcakes, marshmallows on sticks which had been dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, number one shaped cake (bottom layer chocolate mud cake and top layer caramel mud cake), cake balls dipped in white chocolate, tuna dip and spinach, ricotta and corn cob loaf dip (did not taste at all as I expected, need to find another recipe for this one).

Better picture of the cake. I had intended to cover it with frilly icing, using a piping tip. Although as I started trying to achieve this effect I realised, (i) it would take hours to actually pipe it on; (ii) I would need quite a bit of practice to perfect this effect; (iii) I needed a TON of icing to do this; and finally (iv) there was no way it was going to happen!

The other food that we had included: sausage rolls, mini quiches, tuna dip and salmon dip served on sliced of cucumber and a giant punch. I had attempted to make marshmallows, which I was going to cut into number one shapes for the adult guests to take home. They didn't work out at all and I used the mix to try to make ricebubble marshmallow slice but unfortunately that didn't work too well either.......nevermind.

Upon reflection we had tons of sweet food left over and pretty much all of the savouries had been devoured. In future I must remember that savouries remain the favourites, despite my love of baking and making sweet foods.

At the end of the day the birthday girl and big sis had a great day. Eating sweets, playing with their cousins and friends and being throughly spoilt with kisses and cuddles from everyone.

Now, on to Christmas......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confessional - Trashy Tuesday

Ok, I have a confession. I am a reasonably smart person (I managed to get through university twice), I enjoy learning new things and talking to different people. I once managed a small law firm and these days i'm paid to impart my wisdom to children. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE trash television shows. Lately i've been reveling in the sickly sweet, tooth rotting goodness that is Trashy Tuesdays. It starts with "Packed to the Rafters", which on the scale of trashy tv, is very low. We move on to "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" a little later, 10/10 on the trash scale. Over the last few weeks, there has been a series of "Documentaries" (hahahahaha) by an English "journalist" exposing different kinds of love, from mail order brides, to polygamous families, to the world of geishas. Today I also watched the first episode of "Beauty and the Geek" online, as I missed it when it aired. It was absolutely hillarious, fairy floss in the form of a tv program. I prefer not to see the flaws in these programs, they are my time to simply turn off, not to think about how sad it is that people can be, or act, so stupidly and not try to be the best that they can be.

Ok, no more confessions for now. I'll keep the rest of my dirty little secrets to myself.....for now.

A big thank you to my 12 followers as well, I appreciate every single one of you!

Hope you've all had a truly wonderful trashy Tuesday!!!! :)

Mary xxx

Monday, October 25, 2010

A salad and a Floating Island

I've found myself incredibly busy over the past few weeks and I haven't found the time to come back here and update. I'm taking a few minutes out now, my little girls are both down for a nap at the same time (yay!) - By the way, it's only midday, the time on my blog posts is always wrong.

I am always inspired by other bloggers, be it with food and recipes, fashion, crafts or simply good advice about self esteem and positivity. Not too long ago, I was reading a post about salads over at the blog "Apples under my bed" ( I like to think that I eat well, and when I truly do eat well, I simply love how much energy I have and how alert I am. Heidi who hosts the blog, talked about how to make salad tasty, satisfying and keep them healthy. After reading this post, I was inspired to create my own epic salad, which was greatly enjoyed by Mr SweetPea, SweetPea AP (2) and SweetPea EA (almost 1).

Here is a picture of my delicious epic salad

If you would like to re-create this lovely salad, you will need to combine:

  • mixed lettuce leaves
  • drained tinned tuna (I like the one in oil - which I drain, but this is probably not the healthiest option)
  • red pepper
  • baby corn
  • soba noodles
  • poached egg

From memory (which is very poor these days), I dressed this with a little soy, a little hoi sin sauce, salt and pepper.

I think that the addition of the poached egg to the top was particularly genius of me, modest aren't I!

In other cooking news, I was trying to come up with something sweet late one afternoon to serve to friends who were coming by for coffee that night. I wanted to make something a little different and special. There was no good reason, I just felt like it. I went on over to the Tartelette blog, which never fails to inspire ( I found a recipe for strawberry and vanilla floating islands. My Tartlette makes hers, in the recipe on her blog, with a strawberry coulis. I noticed that she said that the traditional way to make these was with a creme anglaise and at that moment there was no turning back. After trying to make creme anglaise twice and ending up with scrambled eggs both times, I was almost out of eggs. So, I had to make plain old custard, which is still nice, just not as glamerous as cousin creme anglaise. At some point in making this, I also came across a recipe for balsamic toffee strawberries at Raspberri cupcakes blog (http://

Forgive my food styling (aka rustic style or homestyle). This is what I ended up with. Was very yummy, although could have been much better with that glamerous cousin creme anglaise.

I hope that everyone has a lovely Monday. I'm off to do the dreaded housework. I'm forever trying to be organised and "on top of the housework". Who knows, maybe oneday it will happen...hahahaha

Monday, September 20, 2010

MIA - Enchanted Woods 2nd Birthday Party

So, I have been MIA for a little while now, and here is why. An enchanted woods 2nd birthday party. Many late nights were had by me by it was well worth it to see the happiness and excitement on the birthday girl's face. Much fun was had by all. (Apologies for some of the bad lighting, that's what happens when you run around in your pj's taking photos before the party begins praying no-one arrives before you have time to get dressed!

Frog in a pond
Pinyata (I forgot to leave a hole to thread the string through, but I did finally get a chance to use the lovely dragonfly ribbon I'd had for ages)
Bubbles outside for the kiddies to play with (hard to find games that 2 year olds can understand and enjoy)

the mandatory fairy bread

more mandatory birthday food, chocolate crackles

Lolly Bags

Table Decorations

Mushroom Lollies (they were on clearance at Coles, unfortunately I don't think they will be stocking them any longer)

Hedgehog cupcakes (Tutorial at

Birthday Cake (apologies for the bad lighting). Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, decorated with mini bunting and mini toadstools.


Sparklers (if you do this, be careful that the shredded paper doesn't catch on fire)
Toadstool Table Decorations

Cake Ball Owls (Inspired by

Birds Nests


Hope you enjoyed "sharing" the party!

Have a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love the Way You Lie - Rhianna & Eminem

I found this absolutely fantastic acoustic cover of "Love the Way You Lie" on youtube today.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

Mary xxx

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Giveaway "Chic Little Shop" on Etsy

Ok, so I have another giveaway for us all to enter. It's over at

You have the chance to win THREE gorgeous Parisian inspired cushion covers. There are a total of nine designs with three below for you to check out.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Giveaway at CraftyCrackPot

Some things are fortuitous. In my last post I showed a fantastic hobby horse. I believe I may have mentioned how I was getting sick of being the "horsie" for my daughter and having to gallop around the house. It's fun for us both to start with, but this horsie is UNFIT and nobody likes a wheezy, wobbly and red horsie.

Now, I have just discovered a super-generous blogger who is giving away this very cute hobby horse.

If you have a little person in your life that would enjoy this guy, get over to

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Finds on

My finds this week seem to be baby/children's themed. This wasn't planned, it seems that there are just so many gorgeous children's products out there.

I love this little blue onsie. Perfect for any little rockstar! This onsie is printed with eco-friendly non toxic inks and the 100% cotton onsie has come from a Fair Trade organisation. Take a peek at this seller's store for lots of other gorgeous designs. You can find this onsie over at

As a Mum to an almost one and an almost two year old, I know how difficult it is to stay stylish with babies. This gorgeous cover goes over most of the major brands of baby carriers and gives you a lovely stylish finish. Treat yourself or a loved one (they will be incredibly grateful, I promise). Check it out over at from seller Missimoomoo.

It was love at first sight for me when I saw this divine hobby horse. I love toys that encourage imaginative play for children. My older daughter is right into imaginative play at the moment, only I'm the horse, encouraged to gallop around the house.....tiring work. Might be time to hand over the reins (pardon the pun) to this gorgous guy. I also love the fact that this is an eco-friendly toy - not a bit of awful plastic in sight, yay! Check this handsome guy out at by seller Bursaria Designs.

There was something about this pair of birds that caught my eye. I'm not usually a brooch person, but this lovely piece may have just changed that. This pretty little piece makes me think of spring and love and peace, all the good things. Check it out over at by seller That Vintage.

This lovely baby quilt/playmat ticks all the boxes for me. Educational (letters), modern, practical and pretty. When it comes to children, you can never have too many blankets. Little people have an amazing ability to create mountains of washing, often in mere minutes. This would make a lovely gift (for yourself or a friend) :). Check it out at by seller Christopher and Me.

Remember, Christmas is sneakily approaching. The decorations may not be up in the shops yet (although it won't be long at all), but those clever folk amongst us know that the more time you give yourself, the more time you have to a) find the perfect gifts b) buy unique presents and c) you don't end up feeling the pinch all at once.
Have a lovely weekend and I hope all the lovely father's out there get well and truly spoilt on Sunday.
xxx - Quilt by seller Baum Textiles Co.