Monday, April 20, 2015

South African Crunchies: for Anzac Day.


If your looking for something to bake this week/weekend for Anzac day(I'm assuming an Anzac biscuit) then I thought I'd share my recipe for a South African crunchie. They are pretty much the same thing,  but this is a slice. I tried to look up the history of the crunchie, and didn't find much except it's been a long favourite for children for as long as people can remember. The history of the Anzac biscuit according to Wikipedia, is that the wives of the soldiers made the biscuits to send over to them. They knew the ingredients would keep well(mmm butter) and they would stay fresh and tasty for long time travelling! I'm going to assume the crunchie probably came from the same idea, that the ingredients used don't spoil and the slice can last a long time! Of course my recipe is slightly different not using sugar and adding coconut oil, but my South African family tried them, and loved them. You can't go wrong with a crunchie, how ever you make them!! My Aunty makes hers with added pecans and raisins which is just delicious!!

This recipe makes approx 20 squares( my pic has 16 but I had made 8 biscuits with some of the mixture before making the slice to see if biscuits worked). You can double the recipe but just bake it in a bigger tray. And you can also blob the mixture on a tray making biscuits. Watch them as cooking times will change.

You will need:
60 gm coconut oil
60 gm butter
1/4 cup rice malt syrup plus 1 tablespoon. 
1 tsp bicarb soda
1cup oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup spelt flour
Pinch salt

Place the oats, coconut, flour and salt in a large bowl. Melt the oil, butter and syrup together in a small pot. Add the bicarb and whisk till all the lumps are gone and its gets frothy. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix. Grease a 20x28 cm tin(or similar) with coconut oil or line with baking paper. Pour the mixture in and spread out evenly. Bake at 160C for approx 10-15 min or until golden. Cool slightly then cut, then let them cool completely in the tray before taking out.
*if you plan to double the batch, bake in a tin twice as big. There's no right or wrong tin, just the thicker you want them, the smaller the tin, or the thinner you want them, the larger the tin.
* if making biscuits, use baking paper on your tray and blob the mixture a few cm apart as they spread. 

These are even better if you have them with some African rooibos, but any tea will be delicious!



Taz xx

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's getting cold so I've made a new blanket!

As I type this, I'm sitting outside in the wonderful sun! I'm eating watermelon and feeling quite summery! But there's something about his sunshine that's so so lovey, and that is,  it only comes out between crisp cold mornings and long cold evenings. You know the sunshine will leave and at no point do I overheat! Autumn is here and I am loving every moment of it! But it was one of those cold evenings that inspired and pushed me to make myself a new blanket. I was quite cold. And the thought of crocheting or knitting one sounded so comforting but I knew it wouldn't be ready for this winter!

So, instead, I cut up some old jumpers and cardigans I don't wear anymore, and stitched them together to make our new blanket. The idea was originally from The Crafty Minx in one of her books I think years ago. But also from my desire t0 use these brightly coloured woollens I just don't wear anymore and make them practical again!



With another cardi that was too small to cut into a neat square, I made into a hot water bottle cover(left one) to go with our other one made from a jumper that we bought from a market a few years ago!
I'd love to know if you make your own blankets for the cold months...or any favourite ways to get ready and enjoy autumn or winter!?
See you soon,
Taz xx

Monday, March 23, 2015

Yay another maternity dress!

Wow, I'm on some sort of sewing frenzy. It so much fun cos things are actually working! And the patterns I'm choosing aren't proving too difficult yet! I made the next dress on my to do list and I love it! It will actually be wearable even when not pregnant as a comfy summer dress so at least I don't have to pack it away once Bub comes. I used a vintage sheet for this one, as well as an opshopped zipper. Here's some really professional pics of me wearing it!

This is the pattern I used to make the dress.

Now I just need to make this cute brown one.

Yay for handmade dresses! I'm so excited about all the ladies who have signed up to my handmade dress swap. Sign up is still open but I will be closing sooner than planned so if you want to sign up perhaps do it soon!

Ok, well this sunshine is amazing, we are going to go explore the seaside.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Making maternity dresses

I'm quite excited. I made myself another dress(yay)! It's a maternity dress(extra yay)! And I made it following a pattern(oh my goodness yay)!! First time ever! And it was actually quite simple. Instead of doing my usual throwing the pattern across the room or looking at the lines and getting stressed, I read everything slowly and carefully and it all made sense.

Like all my patterns, this one was opshopped and already cut from the previous owner! I like to imagine what theirs ended up looking like. What fabric and trimmings they used. Anyway, I didn't really know what size I was working with so didn't alter anything. The end result is a little loose but I think as my tummy grows, it will fill the dress more and probably be perfect later in my pregnancy. It's not bad now but I think I would have been better making a size smaller. Next time! 

I attempted this pattern first, as it is just a simple a-line dress. I think it's called maternity because it does have quite a loose fit to fit growing bellies. The pattern also asked for darts. I've always avoided them but this time tried to do it carefully reading the pattern and marking the fabric. They are actually very simple and straight forward! Anyway, with this new confidence and excitement that I can wear pretty dresses that fit, I hoping to make the other maternity patterns I have too. Here's the dress I made. Lovely autumn colours which I didn't plan but it's worked out wonderfully. 

If only I had the hair and face to match.

These are the patterns that I'm going to start next...

Love the pink dress

Just gonna whip up the blue one for a day pottering at home. Joking, hoping to make the middle brown one.

I'm loving this dress making phase I'm in at the moment. Looking forward to my Handmade Dress Swap, which if you would like to join, you can sign up hhere

See you soon, maybe with another handmade maternity dress!

Taz x

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chocolate and Banana cake

Hello again. 
I'm back with a recipe for you to try. It's a chocolate banana cake or a banana chocolate cake. It's basically a chocolate cake but sweetened with bananas. I wasn't sure if it would work but it did. I had 4 black bananas which I didn't want to throw out, plus I wanted chocolate cake!

The cake itself is sweet but not very, so I do recommend you use the icing or your own icing. But with the icing it's perfect. 


You will need:
4 very ripe bananas 
200 gm spelt flour or regular flour
75 gm coconut oil, melted
200 ml milk
2 eggs, beaten
40gm Cocoa powder
1tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 180C. Mash the bananas well and place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture into a greased or lined cake tin. Bake for approx 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

While that's cooling, make your icing. 
Mix 100gm salted butter with 6 tablespoons rice malt syrup and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder over a low heat in a saucepan. Once melted and silky leave to cool. When cold and a fudgey texture, whip
with your electric beaters until light and fluffy. Ice the top and sides of your cooled cake.


If your swimming in ripe bananas, Lunchlady has a almost rotten banana cake with cream cheese icing recipe up on her blog. 

Taz x

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Handmade Dress Swap

Ok I'm quite excited. It's taken me a while to get this going as I've been thinking about how to do it to include more people and make it a wonderful time of sharing and celebrating handmade!

Firstly, I'd love for you to share this around. Even if your not taking part, if you think it's a great idea then I'd love you to share the link or image on social media. The more handmade goodness being made and shared the better this world will be, don't you think!

I'm having dreams of this being an annual thing, or even more often. Imagine your wardrobe growing each year with handmade clothes made just for you! Anyway, let's see how this one goes before I start getting too excited!

So what am I talking about?

I'm asking you to join me in a handmade dress swap. Zara and myself exchanged handmade dresses for each other and want to do it again and thought you may too! The dresses in the pics are what we made for each other!
This means, you make a dress for someone else, and in return they send you one too. No money is exchanged, or judgemental looks on how detailed yours is, it's about taking the time to make a one of a kind handmade dress and send it to someone doing the exact same thing for you. It's celebrating the           art of sewing, celebrating sharing and giving, and celebrating handmade!                            

know some sewers out there are not very confident in making clothes for others. So I'm not going to force you, but I do encourage you to take a bold step and try. Perhaps see this as a good way to practise and push your sewing skills.

For other sewers, dresses are not on their radars. Skirts yes, but not dresses. Then good news, I'd love you to join in too!

And then for some, they love the idea of wearing handmade, supporting handmade but sewing is not a skill they have got or are even interested in. If you would like to be part of swapping a handmade dress, then you can still sign up. I'd ask that you buy and support someone else's handmade business or skill and send a handmade dress not made by you, but by someone else! This may sound uneven,as the price of buying a dress is a lot more than making one, but I want this to be open to people who don't mind buying one, knowing they will receive one and be part of this handmade loveliness! It's your choice! You can choose to do this through an independent business, someone you know who you can pay to make a dress or even a fellow swapper who might be more than happy to make yours while they make one for their partner for some sort of payment! Have a think!

This swap is not about doubting your ability. If you have the skill to sew two pieces together and make a simple a-line dress, then hooray! If your going to get the patterns and zips and buttons and trims, then hooray! It's all welcome! 

I'm a big fan of using opshopped material or vintage sheets, so I encourage you to make your garment with these fabrics too. But if you'd rather head to spotlight, then go ahead! A vintage sheet can turn even the most basic dress or skirt into a stunning piece!

If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, then please leave a comment with your email address below in the comments. Once sign up closes, I will email you will some very important questions that are not there to make life difficult, but instead make this swap the best it can be! These are the questions so you can see what will come next and have a think if this is for you!

Blog or IG:
Are you happy to post overseas?
Are you going to make or buy your garment?
Will you be sending a dress or skirt?
Are you happy to receive a bought garment? It's ok if you don't want that!
Are you happy to receive a skirt? Again, if you just want to make a dress and have someone make one for you, then just say so!
Will you be making/buying to size or do you need a similar/matching sized partner?
What is your size? This is so I can match you up and your partner knows what to cater for!

Ok so sign up will end FRIDAY 27th March that gives us a month to gather more sewers to join our fun!)
Have your garment in the mail no later than FRIDAY 5th JUNE. That gives you up to 2 months to make your dress. You can of course send it earlier!
Share on line your progress and what you receive! You can use the hashtag #handmadedressswap to see what everyone is up to!
And please share this swap around, the more swapping the happier we will all be! What a pretty world we will live in!
Once you have your partners details, whether email or social media, contact them and have a look at their interests. Find out if there are colours, lengths etc they hate on them selves so you don't end up sending something they will not wear. Get to know each other!

It's fun though to keep it a surprise. I shared with my partner that I don't like pastels on me. That's it. She said she likes anything. I knew from her blog she is a vintage sheet lover so made hers out of a lovely fitted sheet! Get creative!

Now for some cheeky stuff...
I'm not asking that everyone who joins this swap needs to follows my blog, but I'm asking that you share the image or link on your blog, IG, Facebook or even an email to someone you think might love this! I will also run a giveaway with the names of people who shared this post or image to win a dress made by me. Just let me know you have if your not going to use the hashtag online! 

If you have any questions please please please don't hesitate to ask! You can email me at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Negative Nancy


I've titled this negative nancy because I didn't want it to be a negative start to the post but still heading in that direction. My blog is usually about what food I'm baking and consuming, crafts I'm busy with and opshops I've emptied but sometimes there is more going to my life than that. I wanted to share it here with you in case your feeling a little like me(or like I was).

For the past 4 months or so, I have been feeling very very negative. Everywhere my head went was negative. As a result, it left me pretty down and feeling pretty yuck about life. I'm going to put it down to a few reasons I know are definatly responsible, and others, things I know I will always battle with.

Firstly, and excitingly, I'm almost 4 months pregnant. So, let's put a small percentage of raging hormones in their as one of the culprits. This is my second pregnancy, and it's been the biggest shock. With percy, my first, I pretty much had no symptoms what so ever. Didn't even look pregnant for a really long time. This time, the morning sickness hit me so hard, it actually stopped me from living. For some, it's a blessing to rest and just take things slow, but for me, it took away the things that bring joy to my life. I wasn't able to cook or eat much, was in no mood for opshopping, and didn't step into my craft room. Every now and then I'd have a moment where I could manage a cake, or crochet something, but it couldn't last long. It made me really miserable, because now I had nothing to my life, except feeling sick and looking after a toddler who sadly sat in front of a tv for too many hours in each day. It's all I could do. I hated it. 
Then, on top of all that, I was very controlled by the whole keep quiet for 3 months thing. I hate hate hate it. And I hated doing it. It made me negative. It made me wait to see if I'd lose the baby. It made me overthink everything and pretty much death was on my mind. Instead of celebrating the fact I had a baby growing in me, I instead waited to see if I'd lose it. For me, and I respect other people's need to keep quiet, but for me, it's so damn stupid. It forced me to battle in silence, rather than get support from my family and friends if, and that's if , I lost the baby. I'm out of that silent time now, and it felt so dumb spreading the good news, as if now nothing could go wrong! I was sadly so controlled by all that, and I will never do it that way again.

So besides pregnancy sadly playing a part in my negativity, I've had to fight the media and news. I'm aware that there is always something on the news that is going to stir negative emotions in people. And it should, if we have any heart and concern, we should feel something. But my problem with the media and the news, is how much it's in our faces. I've really struggled with being force fed the news, when I am not a news reader or watcher. I don't buy the paper and I don't watch news reports. Yet, I found myself getting so bombarded by news headlines and stories, even when not looking for them. Part of my negative reaction to the news is my personal battles I do face. I do struggle with automatic negative thinking, as well as anxiety and post traumatic stress. I do make things personal and don't have the ability to process everything logically so get help when I need. But, I'm not going to take full responsibility when I believe the media, Internet, news, and some people, don't take any either. Here's my big statement, and sorry if you work in the news industry, but I think the news is as terrorising as the people they are reporting about. The images, shock language, headlines, they are thought about to  get our attention. They need to be shocking, scary and attention grabbing, so I buy the paper, watch the news or click the link. Yet, no responsibility is taken for how, we, the people receiving this, now have to handle and process this. And it's not just once a day, like when I was a child, when the news would come on at 6, and if you wanted you could watch what happend in the world that day, it's now every couple of minutes, whether that's a news ads, images from news papers being stuck on shop windows, headlines being pasted all over fb and social media, or even people you know, choosing to share negative stories from the day. I don't even think the news is news anymore. A lot is opinion, headlines to get your attention that aren't about anything happening, just a topic of conversation. The fact that you have news channels competing for our attention, means of course they will do what they need to get our attention. 

It started to make me think the world is going crazy. More things are happening, more bad is in the world. But I've decided, this is not so. Instead, we are hearing the same thing, over and over in the day, that we cannot escape it, so it becomes how and what we think and see. Here's an annoying example. I recently bought a new laptop. While trying to install some software, I had to connect to the Internet so it could connect to windows. Laptops these days, now come with your home screen being live news reports and headlines. So when you are connected to the Internet, which most of the time we are, you are FORCED to see images and words that even if you did not seek out to see, you now have in your brain, your thoughts and now you need to think about it. I think this is very wrong, and that's where I think, although there is stuff making news, where do my choices come in? I'm forced now to know what's going on, who's died, what disease is spreading, I'm forced to think and be negative when all I wanted was to install publisher 2007 on my laptop to make my magazine. That's where I believe the news/Internet etc is as responsible at causing terror and fear as the people/topics they report about. When do I get break so I can live in my reality and not have to constantly be forced to think of these issues. I don't think that's being selfish and or unrealistic. But I cannot take on board every news article, and I am being forced to. I had to avoid fb and instGram for a really long time, as people on there were sharing links of sad or bad news. What about just writing funny status updates and sharing a picture of your dog or two???!! Part of the problem Is devices like smart phones. We didn't have these not that long ago, so having one means there is more chance of hearing something or seeing something as you are connected to the Internet and millions of people at every moment your phone is turned on. 
Don't get me wrong, technology and the Internet, do have an important role to play and are life saving and changing, but with every good there are faults. 

I guess to conclude, ive had to work really really had to get out of the horror I was living the past 4 months. Thank goodness morning sickness has settled, so that's helped my fight, but I really was frightened and living with so much fear, sadness and negativity, despite my personal life not being filled with those things. I was taking on board these news reports, words and images and because of how often they were forced on me, my brain had no room for reality, had no room to process it and no energy to think positively. The negativity was replacing my positivity and I had to make a huge effort to replace the negativity again. My brain can only handle so much. The two cannot live side by side. Maybe it's just my brain, and it's lack of not being able to function 100% correctly, but I have to do what works and what bring life to me, not what brings me down.

I hope this hasn't made you feel to negative. Instead, if you've been struggling like me, to think positively about the world and your life, perhaps I've given you an idea of what might be bringing you down. Turn off the news. Spend less time on social media. Return to your reality. If you trust in a God, trust God, and now get on with life. That's what I'm choosing to do. And the decision to do so, has given me so much energy and clear thinking. Choosing to say no to the negativity and actively avoid it, actually is life giving, despite how big and necessary we are made to believe it is. 

I don't want you to start thinking negTivly towards people who run the news and media. But for me, I'm not a fan of how they work. They are always negative. Very negative. The news is no longer censored. It's raw and upsetting and we are expected to switch off once they've finished sharing the negativity. There are good people doing good things. Where are they?? Where's the balance? Why do we need to find the good and the bad is just shared with us! They hang out on fb and main stream tv a lot, they print trashy newspapers and love it when your connected to the Internet on smart devices, so maybe use those less if your finding like me, life was looking miserable. Because my life is this, I live in Ringwood. I have a son and a husband. I have a baby I'm dying to meet growing inside of me. I like sewing and baking. I have picnics. I make a handmade magazine. We spread news as well. News on now to make cake. News on wonderful people. News on how to make bunting. Anything and everything is news. I'm choosing to fill my life with positive, happy news, as I will then feel positive and happy. We are controlled by what fills our lives. We become what fills our lives. If it's negativity, we become negative. It's simple. I didnt know this. But now that I look back I can see it. 

Hope you can to!

P.S I do hope this does not upset or offend anyone. There is crappy news and I'm not saying just get over it or that it's your fault for reading the paper. For some people the news is an important part of their lives. It may bring comfort knowing whats going on. But I've had to identify what's been bringing me down, and it's the unhealthy amount I am exposed to this information. It's in my face more than my choice to buy a newspaper or watch the 7oclock report. We are only human. We cannot understand everything. We are controlled by our emotions. At some point, for some of us, like me, too much of one emotion, in this case negativity, can rid us of life. It becomes our lives and I cannot live that way anymore. And this post is sharing how I learnt about it for me and how you may be being affected as well. If your not, then hooray for you and your ability to think calmy and logically and keep living in your reality. I've got a long way to go to get there. I don't even know how I will maintain this positivity but I've got to try for my sake and my families. Life's good. Can't they show that on the news!