Wednesday, September 30, 2009


My mother had these really neat beaded ponytailers in her hair thingy stash when we were growing up. They were just little wooden beads threaded onto hat elastic, but they looked great. I could never work out how she'd made them either - there didn't seem to be a beginning or an end.

Today while threading beads onto hat elastic with Miss 6 & Miss 4 [we make bracelets and necklaces on hat elastic], I cut a length too short & Miss 4's bracelet ended up looking like it belonged on Miss 0. In an attempt to avoid the inevitable tears I said "Look, you've made a beautiful beaded hair elastic". That got me remembering Mum's hair thingys.

I've spent the last hour & a half playing with the beads & elastic [once all children were in bed] & after about 30 years wondering tonight I worked out how to do it.

Here's my first attempt:

Here it is on my finger [imagine my finger is a ponytail]:

And here is a larger one I haven't joined up yet:

It's actually simple threading, once you get started. Each bead needs the elastic threaded through it twice. I'd suggest using a single colour bead first, to get the hang of it, before trying a stripy one like my black & red - I pulled it apart a number of times before I got the stripes right!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Char-grilled capsicum - YUM!

We love capsicum in our house. Especially char-grilled in salads or on sandwiches. I recently discovered just how easy it is to make your own, so today I bought some reduced capsicums at the fruit shop [about to go bad] and made my own.

I just cut each one into strips [5-6 per capsicum] and removed the seeds & membranes.

Then put it under the grill skin side up and blast it under the grill until the skin goes black & blistered.

Pop into a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap/foil & let it cool completely.

The skin peels off easily. Pop it all in a jar and keep in the fridge. You don't need to add oil or anything to the jar.


Just one question though: Do you think that char-grilling 9 capsicums was going overboard?

Monday, September 28, 2009


I always thought butterfly cakes were beyond my capabilities, till one day I decided to have a go. And now I MUCH prefer butterfly cakes to regular cupcakes - they're much quicker & easier to ice [you just put a blob of icing/cream in the centre rather than having to get the icing smooth across the top] and look FABULOUS!

Because Miss 6 is coeliac everything I bake is gluten free. This is my latest cupcake recipe and I LOVE it. If you need a quick cake recipe when you haven't got the right ingredients this is it. It has no butter & no eggs & doesn't require an electric mixer - you read that correctly - NO BUTTER & NO EGGS & NO MIXER. And it is one of the best cakes to convert to gluten free I've tried. It's a recipe that has it's origins in the depression era when butter & eggs were rationed.

Here's the recipe:

Wacky Cake

1 1/2 cup flour (I substituted with gluten free)

3 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking [bicarb soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vinegar

5 Tbsp oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup water

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until you get a smooth batter.

Pour into greased and floured pan (8" square or 9" round) or 12 cupcakes. Bake in oven until done - about 35 minutes for cake, about 20 minutes for cupcakes.

Wacky Cake is a classic recipe from the depression era because of the rationing of butter and eggs.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Twirly Tiered Skirt Tutorial

I had to whip up another skirt for Miss 6 yesterday – all of last season's clothes are too small, and everything that she owns that is new was on the washing line.

Decide how long you want your skirt to be, & how many tiers. 3 or 4 look best & give a lovely twirly skirt.

I decided I wanted 4 tiers of 4.5inches each, to give me a skirt approx 18inches long. So I needed to cut 5 inch strips to allow for seams.

I use an overlocker with approx. a 1/4inch seam. IF YOU USE A STANDARD SEWING MACHINE ADD EXTRA FOR SEAM ALLOWANCES SO YOU CAN FINISH THE EDGES, OTHERWISE YOUR SEAMS WILL FRAY AWAY [clothing construction is very different to patchwork].


Measure the hips [or widest part] & add on 8-10 inches for ease. This is the length of 5inch strip you need for tier one.

Work out how many widths of fabric you need. I like to use the hip + 10inch measurement, and add 1 1/2 times that length for tier 2, then 1 1/2 times tier 2 for tier 3, and so on. It only has to be approximate.


I cut a total of 6 x 5inch strips across the width of my fabric. Cut tier one to length & set aside.

Now join all the other strips together into one long snake. Then gather the snake along one side.


Sew the gathered edge of the snake to tier one, right sides together. It will be way too long. When you get to the end of tier one stop sewing & cut off the rest of the snake.


Now sew the gathered edge of the snake to the bottom of tier two. When you get to the end of tier two cut off the remainder of the snake. Repeat for any further tiers till you have something like this:


Sew up the back of the skirt. Add lace or turn up a hem. Fold over a casing for elastic in waist & stitch.


I literally made another one in less than an hour today & took photos of the process to show you. This photo is Miss 2, with her new skirt. She didn't want to be left out!

It will take longer if you don't have an overlocker, but not much. Let me know if you need help with how to finish your seams, easy ways to gather with a standard sewing machine etc.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Who has time to blog anyway?

Welcome to my blog. After reading numerous blogs in recent times, while surfing for new crafting skills & projects, I've finally decided to add to the cyberjunk with some of my own musings. My sister, who works in IT, has had numerous blogs over the years but I am the non-technical-only-use-the-computer-for-word-processing-and-emails one in the family. Those who know me well have heard me say things like: 'Who has time to blog anyway?" and "Who would want to read your thoughts other than yourself??"

Of course if noone else reads this I'll be okay with that 'cause I see it as a useful tool for organising my ever-growing list of project links I'm planning to make, and keeping me accountable to myself with my ridiculous list of UFO's. Over the next few days while breastfeeding Miss 0 I hope to have my lists complete... I'm not sure I want to see them in print, though, cause it's easier to live in ignorance with the number of hobbies I have!

Watch out for some tutorials too, cause some of my dear crafty friends keep asking me about certain projects & I'm feeling compelled to add the directions on my blog.

My sister will be proud.