Sunday, 29 November 2015

Santa hat organza bag

I came across some little red organza bags at a local discount store when I was looking for ideas for Christmas gifts for our school and day care teachers. 

Then inspiration struck - these bags could become mini Santa hat bags with a pom pom and some felt. Add some wrapped chocolates and I would be sorted. 

I removed the tag from inside the bag then used hot melt glue to attach the white pom pom to the top of the bag, above the drawstring. 

Next I put a line of hot melt glue along the bottom of the bag and attached a piece of white felt which had been cut to size. 

Once filled with some wrapped chocolates I pulled the drawstrings and there it was, a little Santa hat organza bag. 

I also made some with bigger organza bags to hold some fudge.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Toblerone baked cheesecake

One of my husband's favourite chocolates is Toblerone so for Fathers' Day I wanted to make a Toblerone cheesecake for our family lunch. I also recently welcomed a Thermomix into my home, so I wanted a thermo-friendly recipe. A quick searching revealed a recipe for a baked chocolate cheesecake that looked amazing, and a no-bake Toblerone cheesecake that had Thermomix directions. I prefer baked cheesecakes over no-bake ones so I decided to combine the two recipes. The result was a rich and decadent cheesecake with a very deep chocolate flavour and a divine texture. This is probably one of my all-time favourite cheesecakes (which is saying a lot as cheesecake is my favourite food), but its definitely one of those recipes to keep for special treats.  

Note: if you want non-Thermomix directions, use the recipe at Oh Sweet Day - I just doubled the quantities for my 24cm springform pan.
Toblerone baked cheesecake


500g chocolate cream biscuits
80g unsalted butter

500g Toblerone chocolate, plus extra 6-8 pieces to serve
500g cream cheese, softened
90g caster sugar (or mill white sugar 2 sec/speed 8)
125g sour cream
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 180°C

Grease and line a 24cm spring form pan.


Place chocolate cream biscuits into Thermomix bowl 10 sec/speed 8. Remove from bowl and set aside.

Add butter to bowl, melt 2 min/60°C/speed 1

Add biscuit crumbs, mix 5 sec/speed 5

Press biscuit mixture into the base of the springform pan and bake for place 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Turn down oven temperature to 140°C.


Put Toblerone chocolate into Thermomix bowl, chop 10 sec/speed 8

Scrape edges then melt for 2 min/50°C/speed 3

Add cream cheese, caster sugar, sour cream and eggs and mix 40 sec/speed 4

Pour chocolate mixture over biscuit base and bake at 140°C for approx 45 mins or until the edge of the cheesecake is puffed but the centre is still wobbly and wet looking.

Turn off the oven with the door slightly opened, let the cheesecake sit in the oven to cool completely, at least an hour.

Chop extra Toblerone triangles in half and arrange on top of cheesecake to serve.
Original recipes from Oh Sweet Day and The Organised Housewife

Monday, 6 October 2014

Creative blog hop - Baptism gown card

Today I am participating in the Creative Blog Hop, at the invitation of my mum, Lesley Jendra whose blog is Lesley's Stampin Ground.

As part of this Creative blog hop I have been asked the following 4 questions.

1. What am I working on now?

I don't get much time to make cards and scrapbook pages as I have three young kids and work part-time, so usually I make a card for birthdays or other special occasions just before the big day. So right now I don't have any major projects on the go, but there are a few family birthdays coming up so I've started to think about what cards I will make for them.

As well as doing cards, I love baking and today I'm making a cake for morning tea at work tomorrow to celebrate a colleague's wedding later this week. It will be a white version of the chocolate overload cake I made last year.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I take a lot of inspiration from cards that I find using Google image searches or via Pinterest. I prefer my cards and layouts to be fairly clean and modern with a few embellishments, without being too tizzy or over-the-top.

3. Why do I create what I do?

I love making something special for family and friends to celebrate a special day. For me, the card is as much a part of the gift as the actual present, especially if I'm giving a gift card or voucher. I love that the recipients appreciate the effort I've put in to the card.

4. How does my creative process work?

Most of the time, I have a general idea of the type of card I want to make for someone, and then I do a Google search to find a few inspiration pieces. I often mix a couple of different card ideas into one card. I also save images of cards I like onto my computer so that I can look through my own gallery for ideas.

Once I have an idea, I then go through my craft stash to find stamps and embellishments that fit the card and then start to put the card together.

Other times, I have a specific stamp that I want to use, so I Google that stamp's name and look for cards that would suit the person I'm making the card for.

When I'm making a card, I will often make a few extra cards the same, or with different colours, so that I've got some spares on hand if I haven't had a chance to make a new card for someone.

I would now like to introduce you to a very creative lady, Tanya Bell from StampingT! who will join in the blog hop next week.

I live in Australia in the small regional town of Bundaberg that is mostly known for producing the infamous ‘Bundaberg Rum’.   After many years of working as a university academic I finally gave into my crafting passion and became a full time Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator in 2010 and have not looked back ever since.  I love to create new things and thoroughly enjoy my new ‘teaching’ topic of rubber stamping!  (A lot more fun to teach than statistics!).   I am a member of a few design teams, have a wonderful dedicated bunch of weekly Stamp Club ladies and all this whilst holding done a full time job (and being mum and wife as often as I can LOL!).  Stamping is my 'sanity' and I love to share and learn from others and so glad to be invited by Nicole to be a part of this blog hop.

Now for my card for today. I made this card for a friend of mine whose baby girl was baptised recently. I saw a few similar cards online but this one by Gillian at Crafty Times was the main inspiration.

I wanted to use my Stampin Up scallop circle punch for the frill on the neckline, so I cut that out first and then scaled the rest of the card from that. The frills on the sleeves were made using the Stampin Up scallop border punch and the rest of the dress was just cut by hand using the original card as a guide. I used the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder on some vellum for the skirt of the dress.

I used some ribbon, flowers and a crystal brad from my stash to decorate the dress, and added two tags that I printed in light grey ink (to look a bit like silver ink) to add the sentiment and the baby's name.

Don't forget to check out Tanya's blog and continue on this Creative blog hop each Monday.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Heart shaped Congratulations card

Just before Christmas last year one of my cousins got married - it was actually a surprise wedding as we had all been invited to their engagement party, which turned into their wedding.

This is the card I made for the happy couple. As I was making the card earlier in the day, I suspected that the party may be more than just an engagement party, so I made the card as a generic "Congratulations" card that would cover engagement and wedding.

I started by cutting a heart shaped card from white cardstock and then added strips of patterned paper from the Kaisercraft After Five Collection paper pad. I trimmed the end of each after I stuck them down so they matched the heart outline perfectly.

The Congratulations stamp is from The Kaisercraft "Baby" stamp set, and I embossed it with silver embossing powder.

A very crafty Christmas

Last Christmas, my kids and I spent a bit of time being crafty. Here are some of the things we made:
Bauble tree decorations
For these ones, we traced some circles onto the back of some dark red card and cut around the circle, leaving the square section at the top, and then punched a hole at the top for the string. Then I made added some glitter glue swirls.

Santa hat tree decorations

This was an easy one for my 3 year old to do - we just glued some cotton balls onto triangles of red cardboard and attached some gold string to hang on the tree.
Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer ornaments
For these ones, we cut circles out of brown cardboard and drew the eyes and mouth with black marker, and added a red pom pom for Rudolf's red nose. We also added some short lengths of black pipe cleaner (folded in half in a V shape) for the antlers (you can't see them very well in the pic though).
Santa's belly ornaments
I loved this one - very easy but I thought it looked very effective. Its a circle of red cardboard with a wide strip of black paper glued on to the middle. Then I cut out a square of yellow paper, a bit wider than the black belt, and glued that on to the middle of the belt. I took another square of black paper, the same width as the belt, and glued that on top of the yellow square. You could also use silver or gold paper for the buckle. I added a hole at the top with string threaded through to hang on the tree.
Now for some fancy ones!
Snowflake decorations
My mum, Lesley Jendra, is a Stampin Up demonstrator and she had a workshop just before Christmas where we made these very pretty snowflake decorations. Her blog has some more examples of these using other colours. My 6 year old helped me make both of these.

We also made some ornaments using Stampin Up stamps, framelits and embossing powder. These took a lot longer and aren't really a kids craft but look beautiful.


It's less than 3 months until Christmas is here again!


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Puppy party

The final party of birthday season in our family is for our little boy who turned 2 in June. 

My little boy's favourite animal is puppy dogs. He has one that he takes to bed, and he has recently taken a liking to my middle daughter's Scooby Doo toys. So it was pretty easy to decide on a puppy dog theme for his second birthday.

I had found some pictures of puppy cakes online last year (this one, this one and my favourite - this one) when I was desperately searching for a plush puppy dog the same as, or similar to, his bedtime puppy. He had been given a plush puppy as a gift from my mum when he was born, but being his favourite one, I wanted to find a backup one just in case the original one went missing or needed a wash. This wasn't an easy task though because he had sucked on the tag so much that we couldn't read the writing to find a brand, and my mum couldn't remember where she had bought it. After searching Google, ebay, and heaps of other websites for weeks on end without finding anything remotely the same, I just happened to see an identical puppy (although with pink ears rather than blue) at a friends house and fortunately the writing on the tag was still clear. So I contacted the supplier and within a few days they had sent me two extra puppies - one to use in rotation with the original one, and a spare just in case one of the others went missing. When I gave one of the puppies to my little boy the day it arrived, he cuddled it briefly and then looked at it as if thinking "well it looks like my puppy but it doesn't smell or feel like my puppy". After a spin in the washing machine, the new puppy was readily accepted.

So, getting back to my original cake story, I already had an idea of what sort of puppy cake I wanted to make from pictures I had found during the great puppy quest. The pictures I had found mostly used white fondant to cover the whole cake, and brown or blue fondant for the ears, tail, eyes, spots and nose, plus white fondant for the paws. I love making cake decorations out of fondant but I'm not really a fan of eating fondant as a cake icing. So instead, I decided to cover the head and body in vanilla buttercream. After I had spread the icing over the head and body (which I had baked in two small round pudding bowls of different sizes), I used the tip of my palette knife to create the fur effect. I used some chocolate buttercream for the spots, again using the palette knife to make it look furry, and I used fondant to make the other body parts. I put a toothpick into the base of the tail so it had something to hold onto the cake with but the other fondant pieces were just stuck to the buttercream. 

For the paws, I made the first one to the size I wanted it, and then I weighed it on my digital scales so I could make the other three paws the same size using the same weight of fondant. I used the back of a butter knife to score the paws to look like toes. 

The nose and eyes were just rolled by hand, and for the ears I cut one freehand out of a rolled out sheet of chocolate fondant, using a knife, and checked to see that it was a good size for the cake, and then I used that as a template to cut out the second ear. 

The cake itself was a gluten free caramel mud cake. I used a recipe from the Nestle Baker's Corner website, but wanted to make it a little bit special inside like the strawberry ombré cake and rainbow white choc mud cake I had made for my daughters' birthdays, so I in half of the mixture I substituted some of the flour for cocoa to make a darker brown, and used the same technique as the rainbow cake to create a striped effect inside the cake. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the inside of the cake though.

I thought that this little guy turned out pretty cute:

For the party food, I made jelly cups using blue lemonade jelly and added some small and large white choc buttons to make paw prints in the top of each one (these were added when the jelly was almost set so that they sat on top rather than dropping to the bottom, but stuck to the jelly a little bit so they didn't move around during transport):

I also had some Scooby Snack biscuits that I bought from the supermarket:

As the party was the day after my little boy's actual birthday I also made cupcakes for morning tea on the actual birthday using choc melts and choc bits to make paw prints like in the jelly cups:

And for daycare that week I made some mini cupcakes with chocolate paw prints on top. These ones used a choc bit for the centre of the paw, and 4 mini choc bits for the toes:

Birthday season is over for anther year! But my girls have already started talking about their birthdays next year ...

Rainbow birthday party

The second birthday party in our family's party season is for our younger daughter who turned 4 in May. For months she had been talking about what theme she would like for her birthday, and she alternated between Scooby Doo, Sully from Monsters Inc, and Raspberry Torte (from Strawberry Shortcake). As her birthday approached, I was racking my brain to figure out a way to incorporate three very different characters into a single party theme. Then I remembered that last year I had wanted to do a rainbow party for her but she wanted Tad the Leap Frog frog. Don't you love it when you have one of those light bulb moments when everything just falls into place - I had one of those with the rainbow party idea. I took some of the characters that she likes and matched them to the colours of the rainbow and came up with Elmo for red, Scooby Doo for orange, Lemon Meringue (another of Strawberry Shortcake's friends) for yellow, Tinkerbell for green, Sully for blue, and Raspberry Torte for purple.

I remembered seeing some amazing rainbow layer cakes on Pinterest and Google searches but as we had recently been to a birthday party for a friend's little girl and she had a fantastic rainbow layer cake, I wanted to do something a little different. I did some more searching and found a blog post on a cake that had a rainbow with an arch shape inside the cake. I had found my target cake! This is what it is meant to look like:

From Omnomicon - my rainbow cake inspiration

The next step was to find a cake recipe that my little girl would actually eat. She's a big fan of icing but not so much a fan of cake - except chocolate cake. But a brown chocolate cake wouldn't work for the rainbow effect, so I experimented with white choc mud cake. A friend gave me her favourite recipe and I made a test batch with rainbow colours. This is what the cake looked like before it went into the oven:

However when I took the cake out of the oven and cut it in half to see how it turned out, I was a bit disappointed - instead of a neat arch, the colours had swirled around the tin in a convection current. So I tried again, making the cake batter thicker with extra flour (almost a whole cup extra) before adding the colour. Again, it turned out with a convection current pattern, although slightly better than the first one. Again I was disappointed but being the day before the party, I didn't want to keep making cakes so I decided to use both the cakes, one on top of the other. My little girl didn't know what I was originally planning the inside of the cake to look like, so she didn't have any expectations of the cake.  
About a week before the party I made the fondant rainbow for the top of the cake. I found a great tutorial on on how to make the rainbow. I followed it exactly, except that I made the rainbow much higher so that I could cut it down later to suit the height of the cake. 
I also made some clouds for the base of the rainbow using some white fondant which I hand rolled into separate flat balls and joined together using some edible glue made from tylose powder mixed with a bit of water.
The clouds for the side of the cake were made with a snowman shaped cutter as I don't have a cloud shaped cutter - first I cut out the full snowman shape and then turned the cutter around to cut the 'head' shape into the larger end.
I also cut a large number 4 out of some more white fondant, and then I made the rainbow coloured pieces of fondant to sit on the cake board to show the colours that each character represented.
I used buttercream icing to cover the cake (tinted with light blue gel colouring) and then added the decorations. I was really happy with how it looked when it was finished, and I was glad I had left the rainbow with the longer 'feet' as I think it really needed the extra height with the double cake underneath it.
Here's the finished result:
And some close ups:


This is what the cake looked like on the inside:

Not quite the rainbow pattern inside that I had planned on, but very colourful and my little birthday girl loved it.
I also carried the rainbow theme into the food and decorations. We had rainbow fruit platter using cherries, strawberries, rockmelon, pineapple, green grapes, kiwi fruit and purple grapes:

I also made the strawberry jelly slice that I made for my eldest daughter's Strawberry Shortcake party (recipe here) as it was such a hit:

I also made some pots of gold from the end of the rainbow - these were rice bubble crackles in mini yellow cupcake cases with rainbow coloured sprinkles on top (see below for recipe).


And some rainbow marshmallow slice (see below for recipe):

The party printables are from

I also bought some rainbow face paint to paint the kids faces at the party - I used a split cake to create these great effects with just one brush stroke:

I also made some cupcakes for day care with Mini M&M rainbows on top that looked a bit like this (I can't find the photo I took so this is the one I used as inspiration - mine didn't have the white clouds though):

Rainbow marshmallow slice

125g dried apricots, chopped
125g plain biscuits, crushed
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
desiccated coconut, for rolling

Mix all ingredients, except coconut, and form into two long rolls (use wet hands to stop it sticking). Roll in coconut. Chill and slice.


Pots of gold rice bubble crackles
2 cups rice bubbles
60g butter, chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup condensed milk
125g dates, pitted and chopped
Rainbow sprinkles, to decorate
Line mini muffin pan with mini cupcakes cases. Put rice bubbles in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add caster sugar, condensed milk and dates. Stir for 10-12 minutes until dates are soft and fall apart. Remove pan from heat and add to rice bubbles. Stir until well combined.
Use two teaspoons to spoon small mounds of rice bubble mixture into each cupcake case, using back of spoon to press the rice bubbles gently.  
While mixture is still moist, add sprinkles to the top of each one and refrigerate to set.