Personalised Bunting Tutorial

A friend recently asked me to make a personalised bunting for her little sons nursery. Once upon a time I sold these at various local markets, she had bought one then for her daughter. I enjoyed making it, a bit of a flash back to the past 😉 and the perfect opportunity I thought, to share the process with you.

First you want to make a template.  I wanted my finished bunting to be 20cm high by 17cm wide so I drew the triangle at the finished size and then added 1cm all around for seam allowance.


Next cut out your pieces.  You want two pieces for each flag.  Don’t be lazy like me, iron your fabric before you cut out, it makes the cutting soooo much easier 😉

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You also want to cut the fabric for the letters.  I find cutting all the pieces the same size and then cutting the letters from the rectangles helps keep the letters all the same size.  When you have your letter pieces cut out you want to draw and cut out the letters.  For symmetrical letters fold the fabric in half so that you are cutting both sides of the letter at the same time.

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Now you need to iron double sided interfacing onto the backs of the letters.  You can cut out the interfacing for each letter but I just lay the letters on and then place a piece of scrap fabric over the top to pick up the glue that isn’t needed.  Iron and allow to cool as per the interfacing instructions and the peel the letters away.

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Position the letters on the flags and iron them into place.

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Now using a very close zigzag, sew around each of the letters, or you could hand stitch if you have more patience than me.

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Now place the fronts and backs of the flags, right sides together, pin and sew, leaving the top fully open to turn though.  When the flags are sewn, trim the excess seem allowance near the point so that they turn though nice and flat.

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Now turn through and iron the seems well.


Now you need to pin each flag onto bias binding.  You could make your own but I just used commercial ready made to save time.  You may need to trim the tops of the flags so that all raw edges are covered by the binding.  I used 2 rows of zigzag to ensure that all the edged caught under the binding.

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And you’re done!

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Jam Making Tutorial

It’s Blackberry season, who’s making jam?


Jam is a lovely handmade gift to give as a Thank You, it is also great to make a big batch when fruits are cheap as it will last ages in the cupboard if bottled correctly. When I say ages, I mean years!  I would say that it should be right for 12 months for sure but I recently found some I the back of the cupboard from !2011! and it was still perfectly fine with no signs of mould or discoloration. Having said that I would always store it in the fridge once opened. For this tutorial I have made Blackberry Jam but the method is pretty much at the same for any Jam. I always check a recipe that has similar fruit to what I am using as some require lemon juice or water to be added. Most recipes call for equal parts sugar and fruit. I only…

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5 things you can do to get your child ready for school

My Nelly will be turning 4 in March and here in Tassie that means she will start school next year. She is busting to go already and would love it if I would drop her off at Play Group and go home 😀.

In a former life (before children) I was a teacher. I have taught K-3 although mostly Prep/1 classes. My teacher brain has been turning on a bit lately since Nelly has all of a sudden become interested in reading and writing (in a very abstract sense at this stage) 😉. With her soon to begin Pre-Kinder and school next year I have also been thinking about what it is I need to be doing to get her ready. As a teacher, I would say these are the most important things a parent can do to ready their child for school.

Get them to carry their own bag
Sounds simple yes but this I believe is quite important. As a teacher I noticed that kids who carried their own bag and unpacked it as they arrived where generally more organised and independent throughout the day. It gives them a sense of ownership and independence.

Teach them to recognize and write their name
Don’t panic if your child doesn’t write their name perfectly before starting school but talking to them about it, modeling writing it and pointing it out will get them on the right track. Talk about the shape of the letters and the way they are written. Point out the letter that your child’s name starts with in lots of different situations and see if they can do the same. Use a capital letter for the first letter and lower case for the rest. Please 😀 It is sooo difficult for kids to understand why their teacher is asking them to write their name a differently to the way their parents have taught them if they are used to using all capitals. Parents are always right after all (in our kids eyes anyway).

Get involved with the school
If your school provides playgroups, embrace it! Get involved. We are lucky and our local Primary School has the funding to run a Playgroup and a Music session to children from birth to 5 and Pre-Kinder for children in the year before they go to school. It is never to early to start. The more familiar your child becomes with the school, the teachers and the other children the easier it will be for them to make the transition to Kinder.

You know the deal. Read. Get them involved in reading. Ask them to choose the book (even if they choose the same bloody book every bloody day for a bloody week!). Read the title together and then flick through and look at the pictures. Talk about what might happen in the story, what do the pictures tell them about the storyline? Then when you read the story, try and be enthusiastic (if you can possibly find the energy), use interesting voices, volume and tone.

Talk to them about school
Tell them the obvious things; that there will be rules, they have to listen to the teacher, use their manners and take turns. But also tell them the less obvious things. Like at recess and lunch time their will be a teacher in the playground if they need help. That they can ask to go to the toilet anytime they need to. That they are in charge of their things and have to look after them. That there will be lots of new kids to make friends with, but not all of them will always want to play. Tell them school is fun.

5 Condensed Milk free Ball Recipes

Balls are great!  They are quick, easy, most are freezable and they are the perfect size for kids lunch boxes.  Here are five great healthy ball recipes for kids…well for big people too, but as they are not full of sugar they are great for kids 🙂

Banana Oat Balls

These do sound a bit odd at first but trust me these are amazing!!  You can leave out the choc chips or replace them with sultanas or anything else you like.  They are also yum with about 2Tbs of cocoa added to the mix.  This is a Thermomix recipe but they can easily be made in any food processor.



Apricot Balls

My girls love these!


Lemon Cheescake Balls


Rind of quarter of a Lemon
100g cream cheese
20g oat meal
35g coconut oil
50g desc coconut
40g oats
30g golden syrup
10ml lemon juice

Extra coconut to roll balls in (and icing sugar for a not so healthy version)

1.Finely grate/chop the lemon rind.

2.Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix until evenly combined.

3.Roll into balls and roll in coconut and or icing sugar.  Enjoy!


Date Balls


This is the same recipe as my Boobie Ball recipe without the Brewers Yeast and Flaxseed Meal which are the key ingredients in increasing milk production in Breastfeeding Mothers.

100g almond meal
100g dates finely chopped
10g coconut oil
30g oats
10g honey
3tsp brewers yeast
3tsp flaxseed meal
30g milk powder
1Tb boiling water

coconut and or extra almond meal to roll balls in

1.Mix all ingredients except water in a food processor until well combined.

2.Add water slowly while food processor is on.

3.Form into balls and coat in extra coconut, almond meal or leave plain.


Weetbix Balls


4 Crushed Weetbix
50g Melted Butter
20g Golden syrup
20g Saltanas
50g oatmeal
1 banana, mashed
1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste

1.Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix until evenly combined.

2.Roll into balls.  Enjoy!

A Week of Thermomix Meals

I use my Thermomix a lot, but I could use it more.  Some days I use it several times, others I don’t use it at all.  I would like to use it a bit more for our main meals.  It is just the learning, researching and planning that goes into using it has been letting me down recently.  Since Josie was born almost 6 months ago I have not been all that interested in experimenting with main meals.  We have eaten a lot from the freezer and Meet and Three Veg type meals that are quick, easy and require very little planning have been coming thick and fast!

I am starting to get my grove back now that we have all found a bit of a routine and have a little more time on our hands at that end of the day.  I am going to include more Thermomix meals in our meal plan for the week, that way the planning bit is all out of the way and I don’t have to think about it too much 😉  Perhaps I should aim to try one new meal each week?!

These are some of my favourite Thermomix meals that I already make regularly.


Recipe Community, Chicken and Vegetable Pie

This pie filling is really yum and always a big hit with the kids. It makes heaps! I freeze half the filling, it separates a little on defrosting but it’s nothing a good stir won’t fix.



My Cauliflower and Bacon Soup


Quirky’s Spicy BBQ Chicken all in one dinner


The road to loving my Thermomix’s Pepper Garlic Chicken Fried Rice


The road to loving my Thermomix’s Cheats Curried Sausages


From the Every Day Cookbook

Beef Strogonoff p. 123

In this I use Gravy Beef.  I follow the recipe as is and then put the lot in the Slow cooker for about 4-6 hours, the meat just falls apart, it is perfect!  You can easily double this recipe as it freezes really well, just put the mushrooms straight into the slow cooker so that there is enough room in the Tm bowl 🙂

Creamy Tomato and Salami Fettuccine p.105

I love this because it is packed full of veggies!  I usually replace the Salami with ham or bacon or leave it out for a veggie meal.  I have used light evaporated milk in place of the cream which works well.  I am not too fussy about following the specific vegetables in the recipe, I just throw in whatever is in the fridge.  Broccoli stem, carrot, peas (put in towards the end of the cooking time) all work well.  I always end up putting in more veg than the recipe states.  Tinned Tomatoes work as well as fresh 🙂


So there are 7 of my favourites for you to try if you haven’t already.  What are your favourites? Please share!





10 DIY Canvas Wall Art Ideas

Here are 10 of my (current) favourite DIY Canvas Wall Art ideas.  Follow me on Pinterest, if you dare, for my endless lists of projects to do.




christina williams: Canvas Silhouette Updates


Easy and Inexpensive wall art anyone can make.


IMG_5523 Burlap Canvas Wall Art




The secret to great Rissoles

Ok so according to the meal plan we had rissoles last night…in reality we had rissoles tonight 😉

I don’t make rissole very often even though I really quite like them. I think I’m traumatised by many a crumbled rissole stuck fast to the frypan or BBQ plate followed by hours of scrubbing to regain any resemblance of a non stick surface.

I didn’t have much confidence that tonight’s effort would be much different, especially when I realized we were out of eggs and the chooks didn’t come through with the goods. I was very nicely surprised though!

This is my recipe…from memory. Excuse the chuck it all in style of measurements 😉


500g mince
1 onion very finely chopped
3 spoons of tomato chutney
1tsp veggie stock concentrate (thermomix recipe)
1 handful coarse bread crumbs
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Mix everything together thoroughly with a fork, (I think this is one of the secrets I’ve stumbled upon) work the mince quite well, when you think it’s all mixed, mix some more until the mix has quite a smooth rather than crumbly texture.

Form into rissoles, again work each one thoroughly to ensure it is well stuck together.

Make sure your fry pan or BBQ plate is evenly well heated, once it is, turn it down to medium heat. Warm a glug of olive oil and then place each rissole in gently. Don’t move them now until the first side is cooked and you are ready to turn. Cooking them on medium heat seemed to help them cook together well without burning to the pan (secret number 2) Only turn 2 to 3 times.

Yum, enjoy! I hope these work as well for you as they did for me, Hubby has just informed me they were the best rissoles I’ve ever made, winning!

Sandwich free lunch box ideas with recipes

I thought I had better not ignore the back to school phenomenon completely…so here are some sand which free lunch ideas for the lunch box. Not that there is anything wrong with sandwiches! My girls have them regularly, it is just nice to have a few alternatives up your sleeve.

Some of these ideas are best heated which is not always an option I know. A small thermos container could help 🙂

I make all sorts of chuck it all in soups, it is a great way to use up manky veggies in the bottom of the fridge and soup freezes really well! Freeze in small containers or reusable pouches for lunch boxes.

Freezable, tasty hot or cold, they are perfect for lunchboxes.

250g cooked chopped spinach
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
250g Feta
250g Ricotta
1 c grated cheese
4 eggs
1/4 cup SR flour

Combine all ingredients and spoon into a prepared muffin tray, silicone works best for these. Bake at 180*c for 30-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the muffin cases before cooling on a wire rack.

Pack these in a separate sealed bag or container to keep them fresh and crunchy and pack toppings separately. Kids will love loading up their toppings and are more likely to eat something they have been involved in making or creating. Great toppings are ham, cheese, sliced avocado, sliced tomato, and for older kids cream cheese, a tin of tuna or a dip to spread.

This is my recipe and these are a favourite in this house! They freeze well and are delicious with Mayo and kids love the novelty of a dipping sauce.

3cups of cooked mashed potato, sweet potato and or pumpkin (any combination of)
1cup other cooked veggies finely chopped
2-4 small tins of tinned tuna, (depending on how strong you want them)
1/2-1cup of bread crumbs (this really depends on how wet your mash is to start with)

Mix everything together and form into patties. You will need to go by feel a bit and add enough breadcrumbs so that the patties will hold together, not too wet or dry.
Bake on a tray lined with baking paper for about 30minutes at 180* or until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack and freeze flat in a zip lock bag when cool.
I heat them straight for the freezer for about a minute each in the microwave. If you have more time, defrost in the fridge and then warm in the oven. Enjoy!

Still bread I know but not technically a sandwich 😉
This basic scroll dough recipe works wonderfully every time and makes a big batch. Wraps these individually and place into a ziplock bag to freeze.

440ml water
1Tbs yeast
Pinch of salt
750g bakers flour
70g melted butter or oil

Mix dough, kneed well and then cover and leave in a warm place to double In size. Knock back the dough and roll into a large rectangle. Place your fillings evenly over the surface, fillings are limited only to your imagination! Roll into a log then cut into 3cm pieces and place into a round silicone cake form. Allow to prove again for 15 minutes before baking at 180*c for 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

These are a great veggie smuggling option!…and freezeable 🙂

2cups SR flour
2cups grated cheese
2cups grated veggies/ ham/ bacon/ chicken etc
1 egg
1/4cup to 3/4cup milk (As much as you need to wet the mixture enough to combine everything together, depending on how wet your veggies are)

Mix and spoon into muffin tins (these can stick incredibly if not lined or greased…be aware! )
Bake at 180*c for 30-40 minutes, cool on a wire rack.

Kids Scrappy Pants

I have found a new favourite pattern, well to be precise a good (and very clever) friend got me onto it. Quick Change Trousers from Handmade Beginnigns, 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Maria Horner.

They are the best! They work perfectly every time, fit wonderfully and are just so cute. They are reversible which I love, two pairs in one 😉 and I do love the funky little yolk on the back in a different fabric, great for using up those scraps.

I have made two pairs already, a size 6 month for Josie

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and size 24 month for Esther.

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The patterns largest size is 24 month so the plan is now to attempt to enlarge the pattern to make some to fit a size 4 for Nelly. Luckily she is tall and skinny so she almost fits the 24 month size, adding a few cms to the waist and hips and a fair bit to the length should do it.

Perhaps a little boys pair of these might do for the next Facebook give away??

Stay tuned… 🙂

Starting solids

Well the plan was to put it off for as long as possible, it’s just another job to do after all, but it seems Josie, now 5months old, is busting for food. She has been watching every mouthful taken around her for some time now and has had the odd chew on an apple core, which she did not want to give up! She doesn’t sit very well and I was using that as the perfect excuse, but really, she’s busting!

So I thought I’d share with you how I make starting solids easy. There’s nothing special about what I do and it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before but it may be helpful for someone who hasn’t been there before :-).

Rice Cereal?

You could start with Rice Cereal, however this is not as nutritionally necessary as the companies who manufacture it would have you believe. It can be a handy to have in the cupboard to thicken up your fruit or veg purée if they end up being too runny, and it is quick and easy to prepare if you are desperate and baby is starving now! I have used it with my two older girls however this time I just ground some oats down very fine and use this instead. You could mix with breast milk or formula, I can’t be bothered expressing a few mls just for this so I just mix with boiling water, this cooks it almost instantly as the oats are so fine.

Make it easy, prepare the freezer

It really doesn’t take long to do a big cook up and purée a variety of fruits and veg. I always cook and freeze everything separately so that I can mix and match different meals easily. Most popular with the babies are, apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, prunes (in moderation 😉 ) and pear, also banana and avocado although these do not need to be cooked. Less popular, with my bubs anyway, are broccoli, carrot, beans, cauliflower and zuchinni. Mix these less popular veggies with some fruit, pumpkin or sweet potato and you should be right :-). So steam your fruit and veg, purée and then freeze in ice cube trays or small containers. You can also freeze blobs on a tray or large lid. Once frozen transfer to ziplock bags, label and date.  These will keep safely in the freezer for months.

Breakfast, lunch or tea?

So what time of the day is best for babies first meal? Really I would say don’t over think it too much, just do it at a time that is easiest and suits you best. Josie has been having her food just before the rest of us have tea. Being breastfed, I have less and less milk for Josie as the day goes on, so later in the day seems the best time for her to have food and fill up (in hope for a peaceful evening).

Baby Led Weaning

I have not done a lot of research into this, but from what I understand it basically involves offering whole pieces of food rather than purée or mash. I do a combination of purée and whole foods. As I said Josie has enjoyed several chews on apple cores and I would not hesitate to let her suck on and gum most fruits and veggies. There is however, something very special about offering baby a spoonful of perfectly smooth goo, I love it.

What first?

Rice Cereal if you wish, or I have used oats this time, after that any fruit or veg.  Offer just one at a time and don’t offer anything else new for a few days and watch for any reaction. While allergic type reactions to fruit and vegetables are uncommon some may upset babies stomach or cause constipation.  Watermelon made my older two very cranky and uncomfortable when they were little and carrot always bunged them up :-/. You will soon work out if there is anything to avoid!  If baby does get constipated cooked, puréed prunes work wonders, in moderation though!  Also always offer cooled boiled water with food, slightly warm (yuck) seems to go down a bit better.

Most of all, enjoy!  And beware of the mess that is to come 🙂