Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let's start the New Year right

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe journey into the New Year.

May 2009 bring fun, joy, good health and another Hawthorn premiership


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

so softies

I've been thinking about getting into the softy sew for a while now, and George's gorgeous giraffe (and a week off work!) was just the inspiration I need to get sewing myself. =)

If you're looking for softie inspiration here are a couple of my favourite internet places:

Numero uno, as always, is flickr! Just search "softies", or you can head straight over to the a month of softies flickr group.

I LOVE craft books, and I have three brilliant softie books.

You can find out more about "Softies" and "More Softies" by Penguin at the website for the softies books, which has lots of shots from the book and a gallery of projects so you can see just how cute these guys turn out and there's a free pattern download for you try.

Then there's "Softies" by Therese Laskey, who blogs about softies and lots of other cute things at Softies Central.
I love this book's spiral binding and the fact that it comes with all the patterns, at full size, in a little pocket at the back!

For more bloggy softie goodness check out:
Lucykate Crafts (Oh, check out her pile of new reading material! I want those two!)

soto softies (Christmas armadillo - cute!)

For everything you need to know about making your own softies, Softie making by jhoanna of one red robin (whose patterns pop up in crafty mgazines from time to time) is a great resource.

And I can't talk about softies without mentioning these two fabulous ways to find new homes for your parade of softies (if you can bear to part with them!!!)

The toy society spreading the softie love through the streets! - click on over to read about it!

Softies for Mirabel, run by Pip at Meet me at Mikes, uses softies to raise money for kids orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use.
The Softies for Mirabel campaign for 2009 hasn't started yet - I believe it usually kicks off in about April - but I'm planning to get a few guys sewed up so that the're ready to go =)
In the mean time you can check out some of the cuties made for last years appeal at the Softies for Mirabel flickr group.

Happy softie-ing!


Monday, December 29, 2008

A very Kenny Christmas

Michelle guessed it - yesterday we went out and picked up Kenny the Kenwood chef mixer, a very cool Christmas pressie from my Mum & Dad.

Hello, I really am a baking machine =)

I had been agonising over what I should make first.
Of course, cupcakes were the obvious choice - but I wanted something super special.
Then again, I was nervous about making something brand new - if I didn't work I would feel like my Kenny was cursed!!

We were talking about cooking pizza for dinner last night to try out the pizza stone I gave the Boy, when I realised I could use Kenny to mix up a homemade pizza dough - we could both debut our new kitchen goodies together and we could use up some ham!! - perfect!!!

We used the recipe book that came with him (!!) - it had a simple pizza recipe using flour, water, oil and salt.
Here's Kenny in action:

Ready to rise:

ok, this bit was a bad idea - we had some serious sticking issues after the pizza came out of the oven, and I suspect it is due to letting the dough rise on the stone - next time we will for sure let it rise somewhere else, then transfer it to a REALLY well floured stone

In the oven:

And all ready:


Now, what to mix next?


Sunday, December 28, 2008

take it away

If, like me, you get a little over excited with the baking, you might also be trying to shove baked goods out the door looking to friends to ease the burden of baked goods in your pantry.

This is a cute packaging idea I've used over the past week or two when sharing around the festive bakey goodness, and a great way to re-use some of your pretty wrapping paper which is just too scrunchied or small for gifts this year.

You'll need some take away containers - the foil kind with cardboardy type lids. I used the glad brand ones, which come in packs of 4, but I'm sure you can get bigger packs and probably cheaper at a $2 type shop.

Also, you need some used bits and pieces of wrapping paper and some glue.
Then, you guessed it, just glue your festive wrapping to the cardboardy lids.
Put something heavy on top of them (I used my containers of baking - seriously!) for a few hours, or overnight even.

Once the glue is dried good and proper, trim around the lids, and... TAADAA! =)

I think these would be lovely with birthday paper on top for taking home birthday cake from a party too =)


ps. tomorrow I'll introduce you to my newest best friend - here's a sneak peek ;o)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

White Christmas

Perhaps you dream of a white Christmas, but Christmas in Australia is a snowman's nightmare.

(Melting snowmen cupcakes from this tutorial at gorgeous baking blog Cherrapeno)

Friday, December 26, 2008

the 2nd day of Christmas

I hope everyone had as great a Christmas as we did here!

We ate too much, laughed a lot and snoozed in front of one of our fave Christmas movies.

And the pudding was perfect =)


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The day before Christmas

My final preparations in pictures =)

Quiet morning coffee under the Christmas tree

More baking.
Brunkager (recipe):

Shortbread (I'll share this recipe next week too - I tried a couple before finding a winner this year):

More sewing.
These little stockings, stuffed with Christmassy lollies, have been the perfect little gift for guests. I wanted to make a couple so we have enough for the Boy's family who will be here for lunch tomorrow. I have such a good little production line figured out now the I figured if I'm making 3 I might as well make 10 ;o)

Our furry Christmas guest arrived:

Christmas eve dinner:

Still more baking!
Caramel tarts - it's important to make these at the very last minute, otherwise they're bound to be all gone by Christmas morning.
And then what would you have for breakfast?

Presents under the tree:

Stockings on the tree:

All that's left now is to say Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

5 times the Christmas fun

All this talk of financial doom and gloom seems to be realy getting people down this festive season. To keep my yule time buzz from being killed during my online time I've been doing my best to stick to a policy of avoiding the blah-blahs and hunting out delicious Christmas fun instead.

Here are 5 of my faves for Christmas cheer over the past few weeks:

Inside the Black Apple

Meet me at Mikes

Quilting Mick

Urban threads

Posy Gets Cosy


Monday, December 22, 2008

Sew Christmassy

Ok, I'll admit it, I'm loving myself sick over these two lovelies I sewed for a friend's little one on her first Christmas!

Every little girl (and we not so little ones too!) needs a pretty Christmas dress to wear on the big day!
I used the same pattern as on the pink caterpillar dress, with red homespun, and a white with red polka dot cotton for the facing.
Super cute!!!
And, since the little one is destined to be a Swans fan, hopefully this will take her through the festive season and into the footy season ;o)

And a Christmassy stocking, ready for hanging (yes, that's right, by the chimney with care), and filling by the big guy in the red suit - assuming she stays on the nice list!! ;o)
I love these stockings - my sisters and I, and all our cousins, have each had one since we were teeny tinys ourselves!
Each year my mum makes a couple for close friends with babies, and this was my first try and making one myself.
After a couple of phone chats with mum I think this one turned out just perfect =)


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Little Wooden Christmas Tree

In the last picture on yesterday's post I gave a teeny tiny sneak peak at one of my gorgeous new Christmas decorations - my little wooden Christmas tree.

This is one of my favourite Chrismassy things. I think I especially love the packagig with all its pretty doo-dads in a shiny red box.

You simply slot the tree together and decorate by hanging all the tiny treasures from the teeny hooks.

The pop the star on top and it's ready =)

This little one is on a pretty stand, and slowly turns, playing a kind of musical jewellery box Silent Night.

So cute =)

What's your fave??


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kuka's workshop

I have a couple of production lines chugging along here, and as I work on one project or another I kind of like to imagine I'm in a cartoony Santa's workshop

Looks like fun, no?

Tonight I am:

a row of stockings-to-be. These darlings dream of being hung by the chimney with care

mmmm it's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Finding joy in each and every little detail of my Christmassy preparations
I adore all of Christmas' tiny, perfect, bits and pieces, and wonder at them as they are carefully are unpacked each year. It's the delight, not the devil, in the details of these treasures

bliss =)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh Christmas tree

Yesterday the boy and I headed out to the Christmas tree farm to pick out our very own tannenbaum =)

On arrival you're handed a little saw, pointed in the direction of the trees wished the best of luck on your quest. The only rule is that you can't take any tree with a ribbon on it - those ones are reserved and if you take one that's reserved "people get really sad when they come back and find their tree gone."

Once you've found your perfect tree you can go about cutting it down.

It's easier than you might first suspect - pine is really soft - but it was a bit awkward to get started...

We were very careful not to get a tree too big to fit in the back of the car (this one was just perfect) and by last night we had it home and in the tree stand (oh I don't even want to talk about that!! Those things are TRICKY!).
I figured the risk of the tree tipping over during the night was fairly high, so we left it to settle overnight before decorating, just in case.

I woke up this morning and TAADAA!
The tree was still upright!!! Hurrah!

So, tonight (after mixing up some brunkager dough to throw in the oven after work tomorrow) we spent the evening decorating!!!!

Ah so pretty! (Even if I do say so myself ;o))

It makes me just want to sit in the living room with all the lights off!

Except, that wouldn't exactly be condusive to all the Christmassy sewing on the list now, would it? ;o)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

baby sockies

Much sewing, and the Christmas tree adventure, to share with you, but I can't find the cord for the camera, so those will have to wait...

Instead, these precious little pink socks, which I had the pleasure of giving a new home on Friday - with Suzy's beautiful, very newly arrived, little girl. =)

Congratulations - she's absolutely gorgeous!!!


I knit these up in merino bambino from that free baby sock pattern

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kuka's little helpers

It's busy time here chez Kuka this weekend - I'm shopping, baking and sewing up a storm.
Lucky, like the big jolly guy himself, I have a couple of little helpers to give me a hand...

Sister Mary Morning Blend is always ready to help out when it comes to making lists, and checking them twice.
that's The Essential Christmas Cookbook there - "Creamed rice with hot cherry sauce (ris a l'amande) which, along with klejner, represents Denmark in the "Around the World" chapter

I like to do my Christmas grocery shopping in groups of like items.
Today we were all about nuts. Last week it was flours and sugars, and the week before sparkling wine.
The one exception is lollies. Christmas lollies are fair game at any time and usually everytime).

I've got a bit of a sewing production line going on here, and whilst cutting out tiny Christmassy stockings is super fun, it's even funner with just the right music to sing along too.
That's where Dino comes in.
Not only does he sing like an angel, he's quite the snappy dresser =)

It's my very most favourite festive cd - Christmas with Dino!

"Baby it's cold outside" and "I've got my love to keep me warm are year 'round favourties, but Christmas simply isn't complete without hearing Dino's German Santa croon "Rudolph mit your nose so bright, won't you guide mien sleigh tonight."

Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra - A Marshmallow World. Gold. If, like me, you need more Dino there are a couple more here ;o)

Also lending a hand in the sewing stakes is one of my newest bestest friends - my quarter inch quilting foot for my darling sewing machine =)

This baby is so divine to work with that I'd like to sew all my seams at a quarter inch from now on, thank-you very much.

Guys, I simply could not do it without you! ;o)


Friday, December 12, 2008

a little something musical

to help get you in the festive spirit...

for some reason, Bing and Bowie just cracks me up!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

festive fabrics

I took an early mark from work today and popped into Lincraft for a couple of things sewing things I wanted.

Actually, it was lucky I took of early - I spent about an hour an a half at lincraft, poking about in the notions and trims, and thumbing through the pattern catalogues =)

Shopping was a success - I even found two new Christmassy print cottons to add to my collection.

Tonight the new guys, and a couple of others, took a spin in the wash (for a preshrink)and are now happily hanging around drying - the new ones are the blue and the candy canes on cream in the piccy there. =)

The Boy is going out on Friday night, and I believe the forecast is for a pretty miserable Saturday, so I'm looking forward to a lovely weekend of Christmassy sewing.

I'm thinking I'll start with this free Christmas stocking pattern/tutorial from Bathtub Dreamer... so cute! =)


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I like your cool clothes

I have nothing to wear.


And, since I'm not loving much of what's in the shops just now, I'm on a huge "oh I just want to sew some cool stuff myself!" kick.

I'm fairly (entirely) certain I don't have the cools to get away with what these super stylin' sewer girls do, but here are a couple of places I'm going just for some inspiration:

oh, and of course flickr - you know I love flickr - the Sewing Women's Clothes group


ps. Michelle is a genius, and knows just exactly what I like - like this: Some Girls Wander

Sunday, December 07, 2008

the pinkest ever

We had a fabulous time at our pink party last night.

I baked the pinkest cupcakes ever.

Pink papers.

Pink cake.

Pink icing with sugar hearts.

Baked whilst listening to Britney's new album.

I don't think they could possibly get any pinker.

And we drank pink frozen strawberry daquiri in a bucket.

They come from urban thirst - you just add your alcohol of choice to the daquiri mix, stir it all up and put the whole bucket in the freezer for 8 hurs or so.

They come from Urban Thirst (be warned, their website is musical) in a bunch of flavours.

Actually, it really made me think it's time I dug out the blender myself - if this isn't frozen margarita weather I don't know what is!


Saturday, December 06, 2008


The baking continues chez Kuka.

Thursday night I baked a couple of batches of peppernoten (which you might remember from last year - click for my recipe!) to celebrate the dutch/flemmish tradition of Sinterklaas - the festival of Saint Nicholas celebrated on the 5th/6th of December.

Today it's really too warm to want to have the oven going for too long, but I'm baking pink cupcakes for a mini hen's night were having for a friend (mini as in there'll only be four of us there) so I couldn't resist popping some shortbread in the oven too.
This year I still feel like it's too early for trees and angels, so I went with hearts instead.

We were planning on going out to get a tree this weekend, but the Boy is stuck at home working on a job application (he actually has a new job which he hasn't even started yet, but it's just a 6 month contract and so his boss-to-be has asked him to apply for a permanent job currently being advertised in that area) so we'll wait til next weekend.

Probably a good idea it gives me an extra week to work on tidying the lounge room to allow for the furniture re-arranging we'll do to make space by the window for the tree =)


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Just this one more...

...I promise!!!

I'm sure you're sick of seeing it, but I just felt like I needed to post a picture of the totally, properly finished dress, you know, for closure ;o)

And to give you some 'stats':
  • the pattern is New Look 6576
  • size small
  • both the fabrics (yellow with pink caterpillars (obviously) and pink with white polka dots for the facing) are cottons
  • both the buttons pink, but they're different
  • I gave in and went with the ric-rac but managed to restrain myself, and only put it around the lower hem

And to let you know I gave this to the Boy's aunt on the weekend, for her grand-daughter, and she loved it! ;o)

Me too =)