30 January 2013

First Day at a New School

Emotions doing overtime: excited, nervous, worried, anticipatory and in my case, lost.  Not the kind of lost one feels when faced with new circumstances, ie perplexed; but as in the opposite of found.  I physically took a wrong turn and had no idea where I was!  And this took place in a country school of about 600 students.  Oh yes. Go me.

This is for a special young lady who I befriended over the last few years.  I wish her well in this next stage of her life as she enters the challenging and sometimes confronting world of secondary education.

27 January 2013

Labna Love

This recipe is so easy and yet the final result so unctuous.  It goes well spread onto toast, as a substitute for mayonnaise and butter, as a topping for baked potatoes and also onto pita bread to start a delectable middle eastern feast.

Here is how simple it is:
  • Take 600ml plain yoghurt.
  • Mix with 1 tsp salt.
  • Drain for 2 days though a doubled sheet of muslin (or clean Chux) lining a sieve which is resting over a large bowl.

After 2 days you'll end up with nearly 1 cup (250ml) of drained liquid.  This can be discarded.

To finish:
  • Roll the drained yoghurt into small balls.
  • Store in a flat container with peeled & bruised garlic cloves, some sprigs of rosemary and 1 tsp of black peppercorns.  You could change the herbs to suit your taste or add some citrus peel.
  • Cover with oil (I used grapeseed oil) and leave overnight to allow all the flavours to infuse. 

This will keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge.

All in all this recipe will make somewhere between 10 and 15 Labna balls.

23 January 2013


Happy Birthday to my niece who turned 36 yesterday. 

She is nearly as old as I am now!

20 January 2013

Man Card

You will hear a collective groan resonate across cardmaking sororities when mentioning the problematic task of making cards for men.  A distinct hole exists in the market for papier and products pertaining to the sterner of our species, making it virtually impossible to come up with a design that does not revolve around nautical or sporting themes.  Don't misunderstand me, I love a good boat as much as the next crafter, but some variety is desperately needed here.
Enter the very clever Michelle from Stampin' Up.  This was a card that we made during a class last year, incorporating some techniques that were completely new to me.

This section of the card was made using a technique known as Cracked Glass.  Several images (it looks like four in all) were stamped on some card that was then cut out to fit the brown frame above.  The card was then embossed three times in its entirety using a clear embossing powder.  It was then placed into a freezer for about 10-15 minutes.  Once frozen, the card was bent, actually cracking the embossed finish.  We then rubbed a brown paint over the final surface, rubbed off the excess, allowing the paint to embed itself in the cracks. This gave the overall vintage appearance, very effective.

I love it when effects are achieved with simple techniques.  The above frame was punched out using the Stampin' Up Decorative Label punch.  A second frame was punched using blue card (don't quiz me on the exact name of the colour, "blue" will have to suffice here).  The frame was then simply cut in half, the halves separated by about 1cm and then glued to the back of the lighter card. A simple border that matched the buttons on the top right of the card.
Man card completed; avoiding the obvious themes and all with the use of colour and texture.

17 January 2013

Dear Mum

Happy Birthday.

It has been some time since I celebrated my birthday, some would venture to add that it has actually been some "years".  How long can one lie about their age? - I'll get back to you on that one.

You will notice from the somewhat lengthy sidebar on my blog that the Papier and Cakes family love holidaying up in the north of Australia, Port Douglas to be exact.  This past year gone, in June/July, we ventured back to paradise, departing the day after my birthday.  Tom Papier, cleverly designed this voucher for me as one of my gifts.  Thought I would share it with you.

15 January 2013

Mail Me to the Moon

Every day it is one of my many little duties to collect the mysterious bundles of mail from our local post office.  The staff there are so friendly and accommodating; they provide the kind of service that is unfortunately disappearing from many of our other "fast food-styled" retail outlets.

Their generous nature is one that should be recognised, probably more often than just at Christmas time; however it always seems to be the time of year when we reflect on those who have made a significant difference to our lives for the year.

Each customer is made to feel special and important, so much so, that I wanted to thank them for their unique attentiveness in an industry that is often criticised.

Four of these little post boxes were cut out using the Bosskut Gazelle and each one was filled with some seasonal chocolates.  A modest but important message of "thankyou".

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”   - Marcel Proust

13 January 2013

Run, Run as Fast as You Can

You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!

This tasty looking fellow was cut out on the Bosskut Gazelle and turned his hand to becoming a runner of a different sort - a courier for a Christmas present.  In the final shot (photo absent) he was sporting a red and white striped candy cane that was a cleverly disguised wrapping for a certificate, detailing a forthcoming magazine subscription.

Thankyou Lindt for the bow and bell around his neck (I just love a bit of recycling); the white detailing/icing was drawn on using a recently acquired Uni-ball pen from Stampin' Up.

10 January 2013

Thanks for the Memories

Working alongside children is a pleasure and a privilege.

a basket of oreo pops
They are the funniest and most open-minded of our species.  And, they keep me young.  Merry Christmas guys and thankyou all for another wonderful year together.

I made 84 of these Oreo Pops this year as a small gift for all the children that I work with closely.  The recipe and idea are courtesy of Lulu the Baker.  (Hmmm, tragic photographs again, they even bother me this time.  In creating this post and making links back to Lulu I can see where these particular photos went wrong.  The background should have been dark!!  So simple and yet ....)

08 January 2013

Altered Jigsaw Puzzle

A homework task was set for all members of the family as a prerequisite for entry on Christmas Day.  In October, each member of the family was given one (or in some cases two) pieces from an old jigsaw puzzle to change in some way.  For those of you interested in details, the puzzle was previously occupied by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The puzzle pieces were then to be reunited on Christmas Day in their completely altered state.  We did request that the change somehow reflect the personality of the recipient in question.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of work put into the final pieces.  I would like to make particular mention of my sister and her husband; they spent, literally, hours honing their particular pieces of artwork.  My pieces, by comparison, were totally lack lustre and inadequate.  Most of us ended up with serious puzzle envy.

What you see above is a timber hanger - fashioned from toothpicks
with a knitted (that's right knitted) piece of work hanging from it.
The sad piece to the right is mine (head cast downwards in shame).

3D cup with real tea leaves inside

This is how I kept track of each piece.
A legend of sorts with each participant's name
on their particular piece and a small hand-drawn picture
to help reunite the entire puzzle on the day.

Now to put my mind towards this year's challenge, hmmm, 'what shall it be' I wonder?

06 January 2013

Christmas . . .

. . . this year just gone, was the first one ever that I hosted with my own extended family.  Up until two years ago my mum entertained our growing brood until it just became too much work for her and dad.  Then my niece kindly took over for a couple of years to jointly celebrate Christmas and the birth of her third son.

I magnanimously offered the services of our premises the previous Christmas, assuming that there would be an all-out cry of declination.  This is because we live the furtherest away and are fully aware of the nightmare journey on Christmas Day of sitting in jammed up roads, whilst simultaneously watching chocolate mousse Christmas Trees turn into rivers of moulten custard.

Gleefully they all seized the opportunity to travel to the north and share in our hospitality.  Whilst our dastardly plans of reverse psychology exploded into our faces, we happily accepted the challenge (which is what the setup entails) and began planning immediately - well I did anyway.

Well it turned out to be such a success, that we are hosting it again in 2013! It seems that the tyranny of distance was only from our point of view.

Of course, now I have to come up with 30+ different Christmas favours. Luckily I have nearly twelve months to think about what to make and then to act on it.


03 January 2013

An Apple for the Teacher

A fellow colleague, left the fold about 18 months ago, to join the rank and file of our admirable teaching staff.  She will begin teaching her first, very own grade in February.
Dear Rachel, congratulations on your appointment.  You have such a generosity of spirit and endless patience; qualities that make a wonderful teacher.

01 January 2013

A Shower of Shoes

We recently hosted two baby showers at work.  They were lots of fun but they added to the already chaotic end-of-year festivities.

I made these pretty little shoes for one of the showers as party favours.  They were filled with cellophane bags of M&M's, the mum-to-be's favourite sugar hit.  Thirty in all were made, phew!
you may be able to discern from the dark photograph
that I was working well into the night - again
This is what the cut files looked like before assembly . . . don't really look like shoes do they?  The "cogs" going around the outside were bent over and then used to fix the double-sided under sole to the top part of the shoe.

a split pin was used for the "buckle"

Boy and girl (don't want to say male and female) shoes were made as mum wants another surprise when the baby is born.  Sigh . . . those were the days.

Personally I think she's going to have a little pink thing, but I'm one of a few.