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October 31, 2012

Charms Bracelet

Charms Bracelet - Easy DIY

I made this bracelet for Cheri - hopefully she will leave my very expensive jewelry for me to wear!

I have a lovely gold Charm Bracelet which I have added several charms to over time.  Cheri borrowed it one night ... boo, when I saw it again - 2 charms missing!  She swears high and low that it wasn't her who lost it...

Since she left school, my clothes disappears, my make-up was all over the place {and I mean ALL OVER - even at her friends house}, I do not wear cheap perfume, I would rather go without any - Cheri, again loves using mine and when that's finished, she will kindly invite me to wear hers, ... ugh - I have a slightly different taste in perfume than she does {or whatever her boyfriend buys}.

My make-up was replaced by my very thoughtful son, Dimitri - a whole set in an aluminium case! So, I gave her all my old make-up which, by the way, was already in her room.  The clothes ... that's another story still to be resolved...  I haven't bought perfume for a while, so that's not a problem now.

That brings us to jewelry - today's post ... this was so easy to make {besides the fact that I broke some finger nails, because I do not have the correct tools and therefore uses my nails!}.

This is what I have used:

Charms Bracelet - Easy DIY

2 Strings of Chain - measured around my wrist - leaving a small gap to play with.
7 Small rings
1 Clasp
5 Charms

Charms Bracelet - Easy DIY

I connected the 2 pieces of Chain by adding a small ring to each side

Charms Bracelet - Easy DIY

The Clasp followed - I slipped the Clasp into one of the rings at the end of one side of the chains - this will be used with the ring on the other side of the chain to close the bracelet

Charms Bracelet - Easy DIY

After I had done the Clasp, I started to slip a small ring through both the pieces of chain, together with a charm ----- this step I repeated with more or less the same distances in- between and added the other charms.

Charms Bracelet - Easy DIY

Finished !  A nice bracelet for a teenager, which is cheap enough not to cry over when she loses it ... and she will ... for the time being, she should leave mine alone {one can only hope}

October 30, 2012

Vanilla & Lavender Body Scrubs

As promised here is the recipe for the body scrubs:

After I made this, I tried some {just on my hands} to see what it feels like, as Cheri and myself have this most difficult skin type. ... very sensitive.   

I liked it, my hands felt softer immediately, and I had no strange reaction or anything of the kind.  But, I have to admit - I absolutely LOVE the Vanilla!!  The smell ... heavenly!

6 parts Epsom Salt
2 parts Sea Salt {I used Maldon}
1 1/2 parts Bicarbonate of Soda
1 part fine Coconut
1/2 part Almond Oil   {you can increase or decrease this as you prefer}
Few drops Lavender Essential Oil  {quantity depends on your preference}
Few drops Vanilla Essence   {   "   quantity as above   "   }
Vanilla seeds  {   "  quantity as above   "   }
Few drops Blue Food Coloring
Few drops Yellow Food Coloring

- Mix the Epsom Salt, Sea Salt, Bicarbonate of Soda and the Coconut - add the Almond Oil {start with a small amount and add until you reach your preferred texture} - Divide the mixture in two.
- Add a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil and Blue Food Coloring to one half - mix well.
- Add a few drops of Vanilla Essence, Vanilla Seeds and a few drops Yellow Food Coloring to the other half of the mixture - mix well.

I used two small containers, added  labels, some bows and an ice-cream stick - all ready to use or to give as a gift  !

Would you make Bath salts and Body scrubs for yourself or only as a gift?  ... or both ..?


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Vanilla & Lavender Bath Salts

I have been making a different kind of recipe today...  Definitely NOT edible!

Some nice bath salts - smells divine and it contains Bicarbonate of Soda which is being said to soften the skin.

I made two different fragrances 1.) Vanilla    2.) Lavender   and then packed one half of the glass container with Vanilla, .. and Lavender on the other half of an old glass coffee container. 

For the label I used a music print, which I rubbed Vinyl lettering on.  Added a bow and a wooden scoop - and ready to be used.

This is what I used:

6 parts Epsom Salts
2 parts Sea Salt (I used Maldon)
1 1/2 parts Bicarbonate of Soda
Yellow Food Coloring
Blue Food Coloring
Vanilla seeds      {the quantity depend on how strong you want the smell}
Few drops of Vanilla Essence  {  "    quantity as above   "   }
Few drops Lavender Essential Oil  {   "  quantity as above   " }

- Mix together the Epsom Salt, Sea Salt and Bicarbonate of Soda - Divide the mixture in two.
- Add a few drops of Yellow Food Coloring and your preferred quantity of Vanilla seeds and Essence to one half of the mixture.
- Add a few drops of Blue Food Coloring and your preferred quantity of Lavender Essential Oil to the other half of the mixture.

Ready to be packed as you wish!

I like music print - but for the life of me, please do not ask me to read it!  My grade 7 music teacher gave up on me after a couple of months...she must have noticed  there were no lights on when it came to reading notes/music with me {whink} - and it was a compulsory class, fortunately we did not need any grades to pass the subject.

Ciao  -  there is a body scrub post coming up!

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October 28, 2012

Ginger Cream Cake

A Quick, sweet treat for your family or holiday guests

I make a mean Ginger Bread but have decided to try a Ginger cream cake today with LOADS of sweetened, vanilla flavored fresh whipped cream.

This recipe made a single layer cake, but you can easily get 6 servings from it - or double the recipe, use the whipped cream as a filling and dust the top with Icing Sugar!

We had a fairly rich dinner and this was perfect to top it off.

Ginger Cream Cake


3 TB Butter, softened
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 TB Golden Syrup (or Maple Syrup)
1 cup Self-Raising Flour
1 1/2 t Ground Ginger
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 t Bicarbonate of Soda

1/2 cup Fresh Cream
1 t Vanilla
2 TB Caster Sugar


1.) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F) - Spray a 20 cm cake pan with cooking oil and line the bottom with baking paper.
2.) Cream the Butter and Sugar together - add the Eggs one by one - mixing in between - add the Syrup and mix well.
3.) Sift the Flour and Ground Ginger together - fold in with the Sugar mixture.
4.) Combine the Milk and Bicarbonate of Soda - add to the batter - mix in gently.
5.) Pour batter into the prepared cake pan - bake 30 - 35 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Remove cake from the oven - leave in pan for 5 minutes - transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before topping with the whipped cream.

Whipped Vanilla flavored Cream

Whip the Fresh Cream until stiff - add the Vanilla and Caster Sugar - whip some more - you want a really stiff cream {but be careful not to whip it into a creamed butter stage...}.

Once the cake has completely cooled - spread or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cake and serve immediately.


Cinnamon Pumpkin Scone Wedge

Cinnamon Pumpkin Scone Wedge

Great for breakfast or as a treat at tea time ! This turned out to be another winner.

Steak, Bacon & Beer Pies

I remember when I was still in primary school there was a pie called something like "JACK's" or "UNCLE JACK's" which were sold at the school. Those were delicious, but I haven't seen them for years now.

Every now and then, no one feels like cooking in the house or we had enough of the usual take-aways.  Mostly, we would then get meat pies from the supermarket, but their standard has really dropped - the sausage rolls are still okay, but all the others... huh uh, no idea what the ingredients are and if you are lucky enough to find a small piece of meat, you're not sure what it is - even if it says ".. Steak & Onion..".

I decided to give it a try and see how it goes.  We were pleasantly surprised how delicious this was!

Next time I want to add a little more vegetables and see if I can create my own Cornish Pie, which used to be my favorite when they still made a decent version.

Steak, Bacon & Beer Pies

(this recipe made 6 medium sized pies - you can easily double it)

2 t Oil
250g Streaky Bacon, chopped
1 Large Onion, chopped finely
750g Tenderised Steak, cubed  (or any other stewing beef)
150ml Beef Stock
150ml Beer
1/2 t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 t Dried Thyme
1 t Celery Salt
3 TB Cornflour

1 Roll Frozen Puff Pastry, defrosted
1 Egg, beaten

1.) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F) - line a baking sheet with baking paper **you can also do this step whilst waiting for the filling to cool down - which takes about 15 minutes**
2.) Fry the Bacon and Onion in the Oil until the Onion is soft - add the Steak and stir-fry for 2 - 3 minutes.
3.) Add the Beef Stock, Beer, Black Pepper, Dried Thyme and the Celery Salt - stir to mix and simmer, covered,  over low heat for 60 - 90 minutes or until the Steak is soft to your liking.
4.) Mix the Cornflour with a little water and add to the pot - simmer another 5 - 10 minutes, stirring until the sauce has thickened.
5.) Remove from heat and leave to cool - 15 - 20 minutes.
6.) Roll out the Puff Pastry and roll a bit thinner - cut six rectangles - add meat to one half per rectangle, leaving an edge to seal the pastry - fold over the other half and seal by using a fork {press down with the teeth} on all three open sides - place on the baking sheet, brush with the beaten Egg and bake 15 - 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Hope you will enjoy!


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DIY - Giftpaper from Waxpaper

Waxpaper used as Giftpaper? Fortunately, some clever people came up with words like "Frugal" / "Eco-Friendly" / "Money Savers" / "Versatility"  and a nice one "Crafty"..... otherwise I might have been called a cheap-skate !

Ok, maybe I am a cheap-skate, but have you ever had the idea that there is some giftpaper at home, only to get home with your gift, to find NO Gift Wrap?  Make your own...quick and easy.

Something else I like is the texture of the paper, and the ease of wrapping - it folds nicely and is quite strong.

This is what you do:  {I made the Starry paper just now - the pink I made some time ago}

You will need:

Tissue Paper {Crepe also work but not as well}
Punch {either with a shape or your office 2-hole paper punch}
Clothes Iron

As tissue paper are very thin {and you want plenty shapes} fold the tissue paper over several times - start punching ...

Punch out enough for what ever size you need

Place a strip of waxpaper, waxy side facing upwards, on an ironing board - arrange the punched-out shapes on top

Use a 2nd strip of waxpaper, waxy side facing down now, and place it over the 1st strip with the shapes on

Use your clothing Iron to bond the two strips of waxpaper together - just a swipe or two but make sure to get all the edges and corners as well

Ready ! Wrap your gifts ....

Bye-bye now,

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Necklaces from This & That !

Have a look at what I have been playing with !   Necklaces, no less ... New York, Milan ... here I come {whink}.

Just joking.. but as soon as I received my new Ideas {gift idea edition} Magazine, I wanted to start making stuff!  There are so many brilliant ideas of, well, just about anything, to make yourself, I had a hard time deciding which I wanted to try first.

Let's see - I have a lot of ribbon/lace - Beads: these I started buying at the beginning of last year already and have not done much with it yet - Chain: this falls in with ribbon and lace, so I had that - Buttons: have some lying around in my craft box.  Decision made - I am making NECKLACES !!!

I did not have Embroidery thread and a few small thing, such as little clasps - these I bought and was all set. Once I started playing around with this Necklace making stuff, I enjoyed it so much that I spend most of the day on it.

This is a first for me, so please excuse my own made-up names for certain things - but at least you have pictures {follows} of whatever I used....

A close-up of no: 1

I used 2 VERY different types of ribbon here - white and lace - ivory and flowers

Here I twisted the two ribbons and made a knot every 10 or so centimeters

To finish : I used a needle and cotton thread and simply sewed the ends to the ribbon - then I cut the chain right in the middle and added a small connector ring to each of the open ends - on one of these rings I added a clasp {now the clasp can be fixed onto the ring on the other end of the chain}

See the above photo - one end of the chain ending WITH a clasp {and the other end with only a ring - not on photo}

A close-up of no: 2

Now, this is where I totally had no idea on how to arrange the beads and those shiny silver rings ! Well, this is the end result - I will practice {really starting to like this kind of thing!}

With this one I have used 2 of the same type of ribbon (although I think you call this something like edging..}, in two colors - white and a light golden yellow.  I used a large needle and some thread to "pull" the ribbon through the marble beads - 2 round and 2 oval 

With the white ribbon I pulled through the two oval beads with a silver ring in the center - I did the same with the yellow ribbon but used the round beads with a silver ring in the center.

I have cut the yellow ribbon slightly shorter than the white, in order for it to hang a little higher than the white.

After that, I placed the two ribbons together and added {both ribbons at the same time} a silver ring at each end - sort of to "close" the beading area.

I twisted the two colored ribbons, giving a stitch with needle and cotton thread here and there to keep it in place, ending with sewing the two end pieces together.

A close-up of no: 3

For this one I used 2 strings of embroidery thread, chain, large button, 2 small connector rings and a clasp. I am glad I bought the embroidery thread packed like this and not on a roll as I used them as is - took the chain and first threaded through the button then one side of the thread as in the photo - I used the other side of the chain and threaded through the same piece of embroidery thread on the other side.  To tie the "necks" I used a small piece of the same color thread and twisted and knotted them. Then I folded the embroidery together to find the center, cut through and .. voila - I had little tassles!

Repeat with the second color embroidery thread.

To end - I used the same technique as in no 1 - a small connector ring to each end of the chain with a clasp onto one of these rings.

That's it !   I enjoyed this so much, I think I will play around a little more - seeing as I have so many types of ribbon (oh, and leather cord!) beads and all the rest of it ...

Ciao for now!

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October 27, 2012

Ribbon & Lace Votive Holders

I am a total glass lover - anything glass .. furniture, decor, drinking glasses.....

But now and then I like to Fix something up for a special occasion or to give as a gift. Most Votive Holders which you find in the stores { .. I am not talking about the high price, one of a kind stuff stores..} are quickly recognizable a a this or a that stores holder.

Better to buy something plain, and change the look yourself to use in a different area, or to blend in with a new decor color scheme - and they do make a lovely gift and your friend will not recognize it as a THIS or a THAT store's product.

Look at the photo below - this is all you need to transform a plain glass Votive Holder into a Fab Votive Holder !

This is what I have used as shown in the first photo:

Plain cube glass votive holders
Flat {half-moon} clear marbles
Store bought fragrant candles 
Spray Adhesive

- I wrapped the votive holders in my choice of lace and/or ribbon with a light coat of Spray Adhesive.
- The clear marbles {also available in different colors} works well here as the candles and ribbon/lace are quite colorful already - I placed a few at the bottom, added a candle and then filled it all round with more marbles.

This is one of the quickest ways to change the look of any plain glass article - add a simple, but striking piece of color. Easier than this .. no way!

What is your favorite way to quickly change the look of something plain?

Ciao for now,

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Coconut Chocolate Crunchies

Seems I am on a Coconut spree again, but it is one of my weaknesses and this was a delight to make and to eat!

I do not like Brownies, the first time I made them I thought it was a flop, but I learned that's just the way they are meant to be. This is different, mostly in the texture and I liked it ... {too much I should add...}

The most important thing here, is to wait until it has cooled completely before you remove it from the baking dish, otherwise it will just fall apart.

These flavors has really played well together and it most definitely is crunchy ... but not so much so that you will break your teeth.

Here's the recipe - go ahead, make a batch - it will be gone in no time at all!

Coconut Chocolate Cruncies

2 cups Cake Flour
2 cups Instant Oatmeal
2 cups Coconut
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 t Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 1/2 cup Butter, melted
2 t Vanilla Essence

2 cups Icing Sugar
2 TB Cocoa Powder
2 t Butter
a little Boiling Water

1.) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F) - Spray a 20 x 30cm oven dish with Spray 'N Cook.
2.) Mix together the Cake Flour, Oatmeal, Coconut, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder and Salt in a large mixing bowl - add the melted Butter and Vanilla Essence - stir until well combined.
3.) Press the mixture into the prepared oven dish - use a tablespoon to really press it down tightly.
4.) Bake 15 - 20 minutes {keep an eye on it - this burns easily}
5.) Sift together the Icing Sugar and Cocoa Powder - add the Butter, mix and then add a little at a time Boiling Water until a spreadable mixture has formed {it must not be too thin - just spreadable}
6.) As soon as the Crunchies come out of the oven - pour the Icing over - spread evenly.

Leave in the oven dish until completely cooled - cut into squares and serve.

Bye-bye now,

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Creamy Coconut Chicken Curry

Creamy Coconut Chicken Curry #ComfortFood #CurryDish #Chicken

We love our curry - as long as it is not too strong!  This chicken curry was just right, and so creamy...

If you like your curry hot, use the Strong Curry Powder.  I made mine in my pressure cooker which took all of about 20 minutes to cook, but I will give you the standard recipe.

Although it does not show on the photo, this is a very saucy dish, so serve with lots of rice or whatever you prefer.

Creamy Coconut Chicken Curry

6 Large Chicken Fillets, cubed
2 TB Oil
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 t Garlic and Ginger paste
3 TB Curry Powder  {choose your own strength}
1 can (410g) Coconut Milk   {I used "Lite" and it was still creamy}
1 cup Chicken Stock
4 Potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 cup Frozen Peas
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Roasted Cashew Nuts - to serve

1.) Brown the Chicken in the Oil - remove and keep aside.
2.) Using the same pot - saute the Onion until soft - add the Garlic/Ginger Paste, Curry Powder and 1/3 of the can of Coconut Milk as well as the Chicken stock.
3.) Place the Chicken and Potatoes in the pot - cover with the lid and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until the Potatoes are soft and the Chicken cooked.
4.) Add the remaining Coconut Milk and the Frozen Peas - simmer another 5 - 8 minutes.
5.) Season to taste with the Salt and Black Pepper.

Top with Cashew Nuts and serve on a bed of rice.

Enjoy - Hot or Not !

October 25, 2012

Steamed Chocolate Pudding

My first steamed pudding!  And it turned out perfectly.

I poured the batter into a glass oven dish - placed it in a pot with boiling water up to the middle of the glass dish.  

This is a melt-in-the-mouth dessert and just right for our rainy weather nowadays. 

Steamed Chocolate Pudding

100g Chocolate (dark or milk)
225ml Milk
5ml Vanilla
80ml Sugar
200ml Sour Cream
6 Crustless Whitebread slices, crumbed  (150g)
25g Ground Almonds
3 Large Eggs, separated

150 ml Evaporated Milk
2 (55g each) Bar-One Chocolate Bars    {or a toffee-ish chocolate you can melt}
4 blocks Dark Chocolate

1.) Place the Chocolate, Milk, Vanilla and Sugar in a medium pot over medium heat - simmer and stir until the Sugar and Chocolate has melted - remove from heat and stir in the Sour Cream until well combined and smooth.
2.) Mix the Breadcrumbs and the Almonds in a medium mixing bowl - add the chocolate mixture and stir through - beat the Egg yolks lightly and mix in with the Bread/Chocolate mixture.
3.) Beat the Egg Whites until stiff - fold gently into the batter.
4.) Spray an oven dish with Spray 'N Cook - pour the batter into this dish - cover with double folded aluminium foil (use string if necessary to seal).
5.) Use a large pot - place the oven dish in the pot and fill with boiling water up to the middle of the oven dish - cover with lid and simmer for 1 1/4 hours over low heat  {check on the water now and then and add boiling water if needed}
6.) Remove the oven dish from the pot and carefully remove the aluminium foil - turn out on a serving dish or plate.
7.) Place the Evaporated Milk, Bar-One (broken into pieces) and the Dark chocolate in a small pot - simmer and stir until the chocolate has melted - pour this sauce over the pudding.

Serve hot with ice-cream or whipped cream.



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Doily & Stone Candle Holder

I am sure you recognize this clear box ..??  It is the box that FERERO ROCHER Chocolates are sold in!

Dimitri gave me a box of this delectable chocolates as an extra to my main Mother's Day gift this year.  Of course, I could not just throw it away .. a little sentimental on the one side and it is a box asking to be re-used, right...

You know I am still busy with my master bedroom ..{oh, did I have the most ghastly outcome with my wardrobe doors...ugh, not now - I might share this mess of a project one day}, anyway, the bedroom has a beach theme - I think this little candle holder will go well with the room, ...or maybe I will give it as a gift to someone.

I share this as another project which you can easily make as a gift for Christmas, birthday or for yourself.  

Without the bow and ready to use:

And when not in use - cover with the clear lid:

Okay, this is what I used to make this:

- Empty Ferero Rocher Chocolate box
- Paper Doilies
- Spray Adhesive
- Craft Varnish / Mod Podge
- Applicator for the Craft Varnish (I used a small round sponge)
- Ribbon & Glue
- Glass sea-life ornaments

And lastly - small stones - available from craft shops

1.) I have cut the doilies to fit where I wanted them - sprayed them with Spray Adhesive and pasted them, in this case more towards the bottom but with the decorative side upwards.
2.) Once the adhesive was dry, I gave the box two coats of Craft Varnish at 20 minute intervals.
3.) I then added a piece of ribbon all round using standard all purpose glue.
4.) Added small stones - 2 float type candles (tea-light will work as well) and a glass sea ornament. 

That is it for my own use - if you are making this as a gift, just add a nice bow / ribbon or an extra sea ornament glued to the lid.

Instead of small stones, sand can be used.  Or you can make your own theme.

This is just to give you an idea of a nice personal homemade gift.

I am doing several gift idea projects at the moment, and will pass them on to you as I actually FINISH each one.  My mind is in a spin right now with all the ideas ... I'll start one thing, think of something else and before I know it - there are 5 to 10 projects halfway done !

I was going to share a similar doily/jar candle holder but the jar I wanted is gone - well, I suppose just misplaced ;-)  not GONE.

Ciao for now,

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