Archive for July, 2013

D.I.Y Floral Topper.

Friday, July 26th, 2013

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I had a lot of fun making this. It is also very easy.

If I asked for a cake topper from a generic florist I would have most likely received some crappy roses with babies breath.

I think you can agree that this result is more impressive.

The flowers & floral foam are from the markets. The floral wire is from Lincraft.

Audrey’s Baptism.

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

On Sunday Audrey was baptized.

I kept it as a low key affair. Many reason dictated this but the main one was that I was borrowing the gown and it is little so I was under pressure to do it fast.

In the past few years I have organised events for my husband and I and now for our little family and oh my, can it be so overwhelming. All the effort. All the expectations. I just could not do it this time round. I just recently had my baby shower. Their was our wedding and our housewarming and I just feel like, oh no, not another Laura event.

So I just kept this one as low key as possible to keep my sanity.

Just kept it to family only. Immediate family too. (plus my god mother and family, as I consider them like family)

 I didn’t do invites. I love making invites. I even make the envelopes. I go all out. But it seems like no one cares. I’ve seen them on my family’s kitchen table un-opened. But that is most likely because they already aware of the details and I usually send each person their own invite.

So I rang up the Catholic church near my house, because it has a primary school attached to it and if we stay in the area that is most likely the school Audrey will attend.

Got a date and met with the priest. He told me the time to come and to bring a candle. Ok done deal!

This will be simple.

I started looking online for those nice candles (Gosh there can be some tacky candles) with the lace and the name on it but upon realising that they can be $180 I decided no. I can make one myself.

I also got quotes on cakes. But for a simple 1 tier cake can cost at least $400! No! I want a KITCHENNNNN SO I CAN FEED MY CHILDDDDDD!!!!

So I decided to make one myself.

I wasn’t going to do bonbonieres because it was just family but then social pressures got the best of me. No I want to be dignified lady with manners.

Then while I had my lace out I decided to make a hair piece for myself.

It just engulfed me and swallowed my into 2 days of pure exhaustion trying to bake a bloody cake. I had 8 hours sleep over the 2 days before hand and the day of the baptism.

Anyways – Here are the pictures.

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This is the christening gown.

My godmother purchased the pattern when she started trying to fall pregnant. She didn’t realise it would take 12 years to happen.

So when she finally did fall pregnant, she gave the pattern to my mother to make.

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It had a petticoat and a bonnet too.

Her daughter was christened in this gown in 2000.

When I fell pregnant, I hoped that my daughter would be christened in the same gown. Luckily my god mother offered!

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Here is the candle I made. I was worried it looked a bit bridal. The silver lace is left over lace from my sister in laws bridesmaid gown at my wedding. She has been overseas for 2.5 years and I thought this was a nice way to include her in the day.

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You can see the lace on the waist band and a little bit on the shoulder

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My sister had gold lace. That is my god mother in the pic and her daughter who was my junior bridesmaid and whose gown I borrowed.

The little circle of lace in the centre of the bow is from my wedding veil that I made myself.

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Gosh I love that veil!!! Why can’t we wear veils  more often? When I hear of woman choosing not to have a veil on their wedding day I am like. OH GOD WHY!!! It is the best thing ever. Don’t miss your ONLY opportunity!

LOL

Well enough about that wedding trip down memory lane.

I was going to put her name on the candle. It is do-able. You can get transfer paper. I read up on it and watched youtube tutorial. But it is hit and miss and I didn’t want the heartache of failure so I decided not to worry about it.

Audrey will know it is her candle, she doesn’t need her name emblazoned on it.

Next up was the cookies for the bonbon. I have been intrigued by royal icing and iced cookies and I was curious as to how hard it was to achieve.

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It is hard!

I was trying to make something like this:

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I think I know where I went wrong. My cookies aren’t flat to begin with. I didn’t beat the egg white enough. (The instructions say, just to break it up, but I think it needs longer then what I gave it) I also didn’t have enough pure icing sugar. Plenty icing sugar mixture though.

It says to pop the air bubbles, but they just weren’t popping. When I went to flood the cookies with icing it kept jumping containment lines.

They were amateur. I think I would actually try again to make these as the effort required isn’t too much as well as ingredients. Even if they look terrible again, they will still taste nice.

Next up was to make a floral cake topper. I got up at 5am to go to the flower markets after going to bed at 2am.

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That was my haul. Very constrained. I’ve learnt my lesson since my baby shower where I went it all confused and ended up being the markets out of flowers because I was overwhelmed and didn’t want to regret not buying something.

I took in a certain amount of cash and a clear idea.

I love parrot tulips so much!

In the end, I can’t help but overdo things sometimes and I made 3 cake toppers.

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And here are the 3 chilling in my fridge.

Now let’s take a moment to admire that bowl filled to the top with swiss meringue buttercream.

I made it ahead of time so I could be organised and prepared. It has 10 egg whites and 700 grams of exxy butter in it.

AND IT ENDED UP IN THE BIN AT THE 11th hour.

It was perfect but just had a few little bits of butter that weren’t whipped into it. I took it out and put it in the fridge. It said you could just go back and re-whip it. So just when I was finishing up and about to ice the cake, I put it in the mixer and right before my very eyes it went yellow, scrambled eggs, split mess!!! I desperately tried to save it by googling and there were tips but none worked and in the bin it went.

Devastation.

Between myself and my husband there was 6 trips to woolworths over 2 days for this effing CAKE!!!!! I just kept running out of ingredients. I’d be pouring out what I needed and nope, not enough, go to woolies, the next thing, not enough! Argh

So he went and purchased $32 worth of white chocolate. I thought for a long time it was only $24 worth of chocolate, because I can’t do maths. But it was $32!!! To try and make a white chocolate ganache instead.

I wasn’t going to make another swiss meringue buttercream as I didn’t want to use another 10 eggs!!

I followed all the instructions for the ganache (made it before anyway) and it split on me too! I have no idea how. I was so careful. But I put it in the fridge and kept stirring it and it eventually came good, but as I was icing hte cake, it was solidifying. So I just used it in between the cake layers and a crumb coat. and at 12 o’clock at night I made the old faithful buttercream. I didn’t want to make a buttercream as it can be sickly sweet, but it is reliable and I knew I couldn’t wreck it.

I never want to relive that day again.

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In the end I was pretty happy with it.

I was finishing the cake even if it killed me! I made a gorgeous cake topper and it was going on a bloody cake!

And the cake was fine too! It just needed some icing.

On the day of the christening. It was stressful. I think days like these will never be enjoyed by the mum. Too many people holding your baby. Her getting upset. You getting upset because you feel you have no control. So much to do.

She was fine until we had to dress her. We got her in the dress and then we were just going to walk to the pram. So we put the bassinet part of the pram on the bed and I removed the cover so we could just lie her in it and rest of the gown just spill out over the edge! Well my mother in law had other ideas. I turned my back for a second and she was scrunching up the gown and tucking it into the bassinet and pulling the cover over. I COULD HAVE SCREAMED!!!

I ironed that gown TWICE. I’m a control freak and no one has the same ideas as me or thinks like I do! You would think “don’t crush the christening gown” would just go without saying. No. So many things like that happened throughout the day. Throughout any day when other people want to get involved. I don’t ask people for help. Number one, I’ve found most people to be unreliable and don’t follow through or if they do, it is not up to my expectation so I always employ the old saying, if you want something done right, do it yourself.

But when you are over stretched and it is not possible, that is when I get upset. But I need to start letting go of little things like that. Oh well. Just focus on bigger things.

Audrey was getting stressed out majorly. She didn’t want to lie in the bassinet. So in the end I picked her up. “Stuff crushing the dress” I hailed and I walked out my house with her and started walking to the church. I had to cross a main road and I must have looked odd. I was dressed up and Audrey in a long white dress and we were on our own. She calmed down right away until we walked into the church.

But thankfully she only looked like this before the ceremony and after!

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During it, she was asleep. Not even the cold water could wake her.

We went to Summer Salt Restaurant in Cronulla afterwards for lunch!

What a perfect winters day!

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Lunch was yum, we drank some moet and then the three of us went home to BED!!!!

Drafting

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I’m trying my hand at some kitchen drafting. Making sure that all my ‘i’s’ are dotted and ‘t’s’ crossed.

So that there is no ambiguity in what I want. I don’t trust anyone these days and it clearly needs to be spelled out. Hate disappointment and I would definitely feel crushed if the kitchen I have been planning for 2 years isn’t what I explained.

Black and white 2D plans are the go.

Also, I would love your feedback before it is too late.

Be open, love to hear it.

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You can click on the image to see it bigger.

Drawn to scale. 10:1

Is that how you do it ^^^^ The ratio?

I failed maths. I did, but I still think I am pretty good at it ahahhaha.

10 mm in real life equals 1 mm on my plan.

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What do we think of the paneling solution?

Each door is 500 mm wide. Top Door is 620 mm high. Bottom door is 1970 mm high.

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Island bench.

Left to right – Sink Cabinet 800 mm, Asko Dishwasher 600 mm, Bin Cabinet 400 mm

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The other side of the island bench.

600 mm cabinets x 3

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The sides of the island bench.

The square is a power point. I only want 1 on the island as the other side is right near the sink and I don’t think I would ever use that side for prep as there is not much room and the other side has a double point. Also the side of the island bench without the power point is the view you will see when you walk into the kitchen, so it being unblemished is better.

The mouldings at the bottom of the island looks like this island.

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(Love that light!)

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Bench seat under window.

2000 mm wide

500 mm high (excluding padding)

500 mm deep

4 drawers for storage.

So that is all the cabinetry that I require.

Any issues with the design?

The only issue I am anticipating is the fridge door. I might have to order doors that open the other way, because we can only open it 90 degrees, and the vegetable drawers don’t come out the whole way, but we will assess when we try at completion.

.  .  .  .  .

And here is the first kitchen mood board.

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Vivid White for the wall colour. Natural White for the white cabinetry. Alpine Shadow (or something similar) for the island. Caeserstone Raven. But I don’t want to put a dark colour bench top on the bluey island. Marble tile.

Need to get a sample of the travertine tiles. That is what is throwing me the most. The beige/cream/warmness of them. Will it clash with the marble tile splash back? Can I make it work? I fell that blue/grey/green colour of the contrast island helps link the travertine into the otherwise monochromatic scheme.

Kitchen – Where are we at?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

We had a person over to quote the kitchen a day ago. Have not received the quote as yet. I did forget to ask when I should expect it by.

This guy seems good.

I had a builder over a while ago who had the most bizarre ideas about how the kitchen should be done. He spent 2 hours at my house and blurting out all his ideas, all of which, in my opinion were DUMB!

I think it is really necessary to have a good rapport with who your are working with. This guy was lovely, but his ideas, NO! Just no.

He had grand plans to put our kitchen on the other wall where the windows are too low, but removed them and fill the gaps with those glass bricks!! Huh?

Rip out the big window along the back wall and put bi-folds. Because they are all the rage. But it isn’t tall enough. Like a tall man, might just clip the top of their head walking under.

Then out onto the patio where I said I would put crazy sandstone pavers, he said, “No, a better idea is to concrete stencil it. . cheaper, so better.” NO!!!!! Just no!!!

All his ideas were very tacky. Cheap and nasty but would have cost a lot of money for a terrible result.

I should have taken my own advice with my chair restoration. Wasn’t keen on the guy but still went with them because I thought they would do a proper job! Erghhh no.

More on that later.

So. It only occurred to me the other day that we shouldn’t be casually strolling through the planning and do-ing of a kitchen renovation. Baby girl is already 3 months old and will start solids soon. And without a kitchen, that will be very stressful! I want to avoid the microwave as much as possible. Prefer to give her homemade food. So it really needs to be done before solids start. While she is still exclusively bottle.

Kicking things into overdrive.

Last night we ordered our hardware from an American website that offers international shipping.

The cabinets of the kitchen aren’t changing from my plans. So we took a leap of faith and ordered them. If we need more, then we just order more, but feeling confident that we have it down pat.

One of my favourite US bloggers from one of my favourite parts (TEXAS!!!!!!!) posted this pic on instagram

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Octagonal! Nice, elegant and different. But not radically different that it would date in 2 seconds!

Classic with a twist.

It also reminds me of the art deco era. Which is what my house falls into. I love the ‘steps’ My skirtings and architraves are ‘stepped’ as well. So I think it will suit just nicely.

I loved it and thank heavens it had some style codes so I could google the shiz out of it.

We ordered:

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This kitchen knob.

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And these handles.

7 inch drawer pull for the drawers

12 inch handle for the tall pantry doors

5 inch for bin cabinet.

In polished nickel.

So in love with them.

Today I went out to order the tap as well.

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I went for this goose neck tap.

My objectives was a tap that had a classic look without being too French Provincial and one leaver.

I fell in love with it after seeing it in the July issue of Home Beautiful.

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I ordered the tap in Chrome. It does come in polished nickel which is what I preferred, to match the cabinet hardware, but it was about $250 more and had a 6 – 8 week lead time, which probably would have just scraped in and been okay, but at the end of the day, I just couldn’t justify it, so I compromised.

Next on the list to order is floor tiles.

I have been ringing places all day, seeing if they have stock and most importantly $$$$$

I want to go with travertine that is honed and tumbled in a french pattern. The guy that came to quote the kitchen has done a kitchen where that was the floor and says it is really lovely. Another reason why I liked this guy was that he had nice/elegant ideas that suited our house and can provide a start to finish solution.

I do not want to project manage. I don’t want to organise tradesmen. I don’t want to get several quotes. I just want a team of people to come in, rip it out and put in all new.

Time is an issue, because of the bub!

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I love this kitchen. I cannot find the source though! Arghh.

That is the look we are going for. Pretty much sums it right up. That is also the tiles as well.

I also want to do white wall cabinets and a contrasting island. Loving that colour.

Next up is to order the appliances. We need a cooker, a rangehood and a dishwasher.

I have decided on the cooker and rangehood, just having 2nd thoughts on dishwasher.

I checked stock today with the company I intend to order through and it is all good.

Feedback so far?

In completely unrelated news. I came across this old picture.

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Who played farmville on Facebook?? That was MY farm

I’m not ashamed to admit that I actually ‘designed’ it. Like I pulled out grid paper and planned each and every block!

I was EFFFINNNGGG ADDICTED TO IT. Like crystal meth addicted! Rushing home from work. . .”Can’t talk baby, I got to water my plants or they’ll die and I will lose $$$” So much so that hubby did some computer voodoo and blocked me from using it!!

I was devastated. I loved my farm so much! Definitely got a thing for symmetry.

Oh well.

He said something the other day about wanting to get an xbox. I’m all for it if I can have a game like that. I like those kind of games, where you build something up, trade and buy things.

I won!!

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Hands down, best thing about having a blog is that people get to know your style and give great feedback and send you links to eBay auctions!!!

I won my pram off an eBay auction that a blog reader sent me. And now I have won an amazing light that my friend from work sent me!

BEHOLD!

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$T2eC16hHJIUFHHV(h+OIBRz-uFwUew~~60_57

$(KGrHqFHJEQFG3,3M9d8BRz-t-DFWg~~60_57

$(KGrHqVHJEQFG3hOM!uuBRz-tv88KQ~~60_57

$(KGrHqNHJBMFGv70gVzcBRz-t3Oz2w~~60_57

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I’m thinking I won’t hard wire it and just display it inside for a bit of intrigue and whimsy. Definitely going to give it a spray paint make over. I’ll probably have to hit up my spray paint home girl InTheNightSky for advice.

I love it! I think it looks like a gemstone with all its facets.

Any ideas where I should put it and what colour I should spray paint it?

Thanks for sending me the link Kaz!!!

Audrey at 3 months

Monday, July 8th, 2013

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Smiling up a storm, especially for her daddy.

About high time I post my birth story. I have been umming and ahhhing over it for all this time. Do I post, do I not. My story is kind of unremarkable.

But since I received a big response to my other post of babies, I think it is what people like reading about. I am not ashamed to admit that I went looking for birth/labour stories while pregnant as my own initiated birth preparation class. I even found a post by some hippy mum who had a home birth in a blow up kids pool who kept the placenta in a homemade bag and connected to her baby until it dropped on. That was then her ‘lotus’ birth. That was more meaningful then actually giving birth to her. There was even graphic pictures. Like the whole family in the bath.  . . . and the placenta floating along in a mixing bowl!!! And a tale of the forgotten placenta they found in the back of their fridge from their older child.

YEAH!!!

Not. a. word. of. a. lie!

My story is NONE of that.

Unremarkable I said.

But I will post it.

(oh and they made ‘art’ with the placenta blood and they showed the decayed, detached umbilical cords that they keep on top of their wardrobe that look like old snake skins. OH MAN!!! It was sooooo good!! I struck gold with that link

like, good, but bad, but I can’t look away, I kinda love this, but think it so wrong, but can’t close the page)

I just trawled through my browser history to find it. No such luck.

We were suppose to have someone over yesterday morning to quote the kitchen, errgh. They cancelled. Of course they did!

I swear we will have a kitchen one day.

At least I made some progress on one part. The windows. I orded new brass hardware for the sash windows. Lifts and locks. And I have ordered cheap as cheap can be block out roller blinds for $509 including delivery. Should come in the next few days hopefully.

Also, a question. Does the parents get their child a gift for baptism?

Her baptism is coming up. Pretty much got everything covered. Just d.i.y-ing the candle left to go.

Love to craft.

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I’ve been crafting again!

I managed to make an envelope, wrap the present and make a card without a single trip to the shops. All materials and supplies were found in my craft cupboard.

Never underestimate the power of a well stocked craft cupboard.

(Still ploughing through it and organising it. Still very much a work in progress. The clutter is slowly killing my husband. It has spread out onto his side of the desk now!!)

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Re used a gift box and wrapped it with a scrap of tulle.

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I hand made this envelope with a piece of Sanderson Wallpaper. I bought the wall paper to do a series of ‘prints’ in Audrey’s room but I didn’t pull it off. I had this piece in a frame but I smashed the glass and I saw it as a sign from above (lol) not to have it in her room.

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So I cut it up and made an envelope.

That is my Cupid’s Bow Address labels (You can purchase from my etsy shop)

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I got carried away and sealed the envelope without taking a picture of the card I made.

This is for a 2 year old’s birthday. Above all looks very serious and grown up, but the card was very fun. Glitter polka dots and a huge pink “2”

I made ‘Little G” . . . (What her mum sometimes refer to her as)

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A lowercase g!!!

Get it?? Get it??

Just something to decorate her room with.

Plus a bought her a purebaby knit dress.

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(But a different pattern)

To celebrate Mum threw a morning tea party and I brought some scones that I whipped in the kitchen aid. (I do not recommend, at all!!!!) They were okay, but flour allllll over my kitchen.

In other gift news. Audrey has been receiving books in the post. They are addressed to her, but seeing as she is 3 months old and without a credit card, she didn’t order them. It doesn’t say who they are from. If it is you! Thank you and fess up. Let me know!! It is killing me. I need to know.

Christening cake trial

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Coconut Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

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Recipe for cake from Australian’s Women’s Weekly Cake Decorating magazine

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Recipe for icing.

The cake part was delicious and definitely going to stick with that recipe. The icing was too sweet for me but lovely, light and fluffy. Will have to come up with something else.