Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Jane of all trades

How are you liking my new look blog? Pretty cool huh? I mean, how talented am I? Ok, not really, it's still very basic lol, but it's an improvement anyway. With zero prior knowledge I managed to fudge my way through making the banner, quite proud of the result.

But you see, I am a real Jack of all trades..... master of none. I dabble in everything. I give everything a go. It's something I do like about myself - I will give anything a try once (however, some things - like bungy jumping - I will never try again!). But the downside? I don't have a real passion or skill for anything in particular.

For many many many years from when I was about 10 I wanted to be a photographer. Right up until I was 15, doing School C art killed the passion. Or, the teacher did, rather. He was the 6th form photography teacher. We didn't see eye to eye. Put me off. And after that? I just didn't care for it anymore. I sometimes think maybe that was my true calling, being that's the only thing I had a passion for for the longest period of time in my whole life. But I think about being a photographer now and I just like "yeah.... nah". So, nope, that's not me (ha, and look at my photos on here, I don't have natural talent there either!).

And then my next passion was travel! Oh how I wanted to travel the world, and was going to get into tourism so I could work and travel. But then I became a Mum before any of this happened, and now while I would love to travel, its not something that I can do while my kids are little. Hubby and I will go on our OE in approx 18 years time... hehe.

The next thing is baking. Obviously, I love to bake. I'm a half decent baker. But do I love it enough to do it for a living? Nup. Also, my stuff is all very basic stuff - no gourmet baking here. Nothing turns out overly pretty. Tastes good, but not absolutely amazing. No better than anyone else there.

I enjoy doing crafty stuff. However I am not skilled at any particular craft nor do I enjoy any particular craft enough to actually care to make things to sell. Fun hobby, but that's about it.

So that leaves me with being a wife and mother. I think I do both those things pretty well (well, since having mr2 he has certainly tested my parenting ability more than the other 2 did, but I'm slowly clawing back control). Pity it doesn't pay huh? Oh and don't suggest childcare either, been there, done that, loved it at the time and did it well, but it's not something I want to do forever.

Anybody else out there a dabbler in everything and still have no idea what you want to do when you grow up?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Making Birdfeeders

Mr7 came grocery shopping with me yesterday (I rarely take the kids, I mean, shopping with kids is a drag!). He asked me if we could buy some bird seed to make bird feeders. Lucky for him I was feeling generous.

So today we sat down and made bird feeders. Mr7 chose to make one out of the empty ginger ale bottle we had in the recycling bin, but that didn't leave many options for mr4 and mr2 to make their out of. But then I spotted an empty rice milk tetra pack and then found another - perfect. Turns out, the tetra packs are SO much easier to make a bird feeder out of lol, easier to cut.

Anyways, here is how we made bird feeders:

  1. Firstly, wash and dry whatever bottle/carton thoroughly.
  2. Cut an opening on opposite sides of bottle (or just one side, we wanted 2 birds to be able to feed at the same time)
  3. Select a stick (could use bamboo skewers, a pencil, whatever you have handy, I sent the kids scavenging in the yard for some suitable sticks) to use as a perch - if you have 2 openings you want a longer stick to reach out both sides.
  4. Cut a hole beneath the opening for the stick on both sides and stick it through
  5. Cut holes for the string to go through at the top of bottle. Thread some string through - a tapestry needle is helpful!
  6. Fill the bottom with bird seed
  7. Go hang your bird feeder and wait for the birds... if the kids are hanging around it may take some time but at least the kids are out of your hair for a while heh heh heh

Mr 4 cutting the holes in his

My (I mean Mr2's) nearly finished bird feeder - just needs the string

Mr 7's nearly finished bird feeder

Mr2's bird feeder hanging and waiting

Mr 7's bird feeder hanging and waiting

Mr 4's bird feeder hanging and waiting

And waiting and waiting...

Tis a good little project to do with your kids now that the school holidays are approaching along with colder weather. I'm not sure how many birds my kids will attract at the moment as I'm sure the birds will still have enough food around at the moment, but who knows, maybe one day we will catch a bird having a meal courtesy of our feeders, and I will try to snap a pic in action! Wish us luck!

A recipe request

I had a recipe request from my cousin, wanting a chocolate muffin recipe. That made me realise it had been a long time since I last made chocolate muffins, so told her I would get right onto it. And so I did. But it also made me realise I had lost my old double choc muffin recipe I used to make all the time - it was one that was on the back of a packet of something I used to buy, and stupidly assumed it would always be there. But alas, the old packet got thrown out, new packet came in, and no more recipes on the back. So since then, I haven't really made them.

This recipe is off the Cadbury website - I mean, you can't go wrong with recipes off a chocolate website can you?

Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Serves 15

3 cups plain flour
3 tablespoons Cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1½ cups brown sugar (I did 1 cup)
200g (8 rows)  Dark Cooking Chocolate, chopped (or I actually just used 200g of chocolate drops as that's all I had... the Pams brand aren't the most chocolately tasting ones but they are dairy free)
1½ cups milk (rice milk)
120g butter, melted (dairy free spread..)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and chocolate. Stir to combine. Add the milk, butter and eggs. Mix until just combined, but do not over-beat. (I underlines that because that is a common mistake people make when making muffins. They aren't like cakes and cupcakes, just a gentle stir until all the ingredients are combined is all that is needed)
  2. Spoon the mixture into medium (5 cm) greased muffin pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes before removing. Serve warm.

And how did I find mine came out? Really yummy actually. Haven't eaten one cold yet, I do wonder why they say to serve warm - are they going to be gross tomorrow? Will update this post once I have tried one cold. They could maybe have done with a smidgen more cocoa powder, will have to try it again with an extra tablespoon or something, see how that goes!

Editting to say - they are still pretty damned good eaten cold!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Having a play...

Trying out new fonts and backgrounds and colours and stuff for my blog. Never really did finish it when I first put the blog together lol. I like the background, though is it too busy? As for fonts, I don't know what I like there lol. Trialling a few at the moment to see what I like... it may change a few times over the next few weeks while I make some decisions! I welcome any feedback. Cheers!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ok here's a craft one

Wasn't going to blog about it, but then thought "why not?" - haven't written in it yet. And hubby never looks at my blog (or facebook, or anything worth looking at online, ha ha!). But this here is the anniversary card I have made for him, it is our first wedding anniversary this weekend. Found the design on Pinterest (where else?) several gazillion months ago, and decided then and there I must make it for our anniversary. Doesn't look quite as good as the original one haha, but nevermind, it does the trick!

I'm not as steady at cutting out as the original one. Anyways, here is the original link, it has a template you can use - cut the solid lines and fold the dotted lines. And pay attention. I wasn't concentrating hard enough and cut the bottom of the 'U' when I was meant to stop and fold. Lucky a piece of tape on the underside fixed it but yeah, would have looked a bit better if that cut wasn't there!

Anyways, here is the finished card, minus the soppy message that is now in it. Ok, might have gone a tad overboard with the love heart thing haha but nevermind!

The outside

Another Baking Post

Yeah yeah, I know, lately I haven't been doing much other than baking. Life has been a bit busy for craft stuff, and I haven't done much kid stuff worth blogging about lately! But alas, I bake a lot, and people seem to like my recipes, so I share a lot...

This week I made some ginger slice off the Weetbix website. It's my favourite ginger slice recipe because it's so easy, and I like how the base is more of a chewy base instead of a crunchy base. Oh, and it's a good way to use up the weetbix crumbs at the bottom of the box. On their website they post hints and tips of the recipe too - oh and browse the rest of their recipes too, they have heaps and they are all really quite good.

But for you lazy ones who can't be bothered clicking another link to get to the recipe, here it is:

Weetbix Ginger Slice

  • 100g margarine
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup coconut
  • 1 ½ cups crushed Sanitarium Weet-Bix
  • ¾ cup white flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons powdered ginger


  • 2 tablespoons margarine (3 or 4 Tbsp)
  • 4 teaspoons golden syrup (6 or 8 tsp)
  • 1 cup icing sugar (1.5 or 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon of Ground Ginger (1.5 or 2 tsp)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. In a large saucepan melt margarine, golden syrup and sugar together.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, blending well.
  3. Press into a greased 20cm x 30cm slice pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. While hot, mark into squares. Then ice once cool, with hot icing.
  4. Icing: Place margarine and golden syrup into saucepan and melt. Blend in icing sugar and ginger, and pour over base, while still warm.

Now, when I made this this time around, I did 1.5x the recipe for the icing - and it was still not a very thick icing. Last time I did the icing recipe as above, and I found it wasn't even enough to cover the whole slice in a thin layer. Next time I will double the recipe. I have added my recommendations in purple above as 1.5x and doubled... if you are too lazy to do it yourself haha! Otherwise I didn't make any changes to the recipe - it was already dairy free! Bonus!

Oh, and I can never cut this slice as cleanly as they have cut it on their website lol! But it's delish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What to do with a small chook boob to feed many?

Made the yummiest pizza last night for dinner. I love making pizza for dinner, you can load them up with so many different toppings and best of all, they are so cheap to make! And you can make them quite healthy too, go easy on the cheese, lots of veggies in the topping etc, and roll the base thin. Oh, and omit the salt too, if you are trying to lose weight - salt makes you retain water.

Anyways, I will not claim that this base recipe is the best base recipe out there. It isn't. But it IS quick and easy and uses pantry staples.

Pizza Base
(I do triple recipe to make a roasting dish sized pizza, which is enough to feed my family of 5 with a salad or vegies alongside)

1c flour (I do half white flour, half wholemeal flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Oil

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, adding enough milk to form a dough. (If using wholemeal flour especially, the dough is quite tough, not soft and silky). Pretty much you want enough milk to make a scone type dough (as really, that's what this is).
Roll dough out to form your base, add toppings then bake at 180*c for approx 30mins (slightly longer for a roasting dish sized pizza)

Now, for the toppings! Often, in winter especially, we will jsut use left over roast meat, and roast vegies. Such an easy way to use up left overs, especially if there isn't a lot left over to start with - you only need a small amount.

Another topping I often do, is leftover bolognaise from a spag bol, smear that over the base, top with cheese, and voila.

But last night, I didn't use leftovers, just a small chicken breast and whatever else...

300g skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 rashers middle bacon, diced
1 onion, sliced/diced/however you like it
Plum sauce
handful of baby spinach / chopped up spinach / silverbeet (last night I used silverbeet as that's what we happened to have, last time I used baby spinach... I don't taste either, so makes no difference taste-wise, just gives a great pop of colour and extra goodness for your body)
Roughly 3 slices of tinned pineapple, chopped (I prefer using pineapple slices as the chopped pineapple tends to be too chunky and needs chopping up anyway - quicker to cut the slices!)
Tomato slices (I use cherry tomatoes, probably about 5 or 6 tomatoes, sliced up)
Grated cheese

Cut up the chicken breast, and sauté for a few mins until half cooked. Add the bacon and onion and cook until onion is done, and the chicken is cooked through (or mostly cooked through). Remove from heat.

Spread plum sauce over base. Scatter the spinach/silverbeet, then add the chicken/bacon mix over top. Then bung on the pineapple, and tomato slices. Finally top with grated cheese. Bake as per the base recipe.

mmm yum, look at all the colours (before adding the cheese)


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Going Green

Oops this is now a day late... wrote this yesterday, then forgot to actually publish it! Silly me! But anyways.....

Happy St Patrick's day! Got anything fun planned? Nah, me neither. Hubby is off out to drink Guinness all evening with various other men-folk from his side of the family, so I decided to try to get into the St Paddy's Day spirit and do some baking.

On Thursday night insomnia kicked my arse. I tried to bake yesterday but OMG, nothing went right for me. But after a better nights sleep last night, I thought I could get in the kitchen again... but wanted to take it easy!

So what was easy to bake, but could put a St Pat's spin on it? Vanilla cupcakes is what! A bit of green food colouring to both the batter and the icing, fashion a shamrock out of 100s and 1000s for on top, and voila, bobs your uncle, you have St Patrick's Day cupcakes! (Would have been much cooler to make booze filled cupcakes, ya know, to keep within the SPIRIT of the day haha, but that's not so kid friendly!)

So bake my vanilla cake recipe as found in this link here but add some green food colouring to the mix. Ah, green cupcakes. Perfect.

Then I guess it's time to ice them. By this time I had had another kitchen disaster. I managed to knock the container of wholemeal flour out of the pantry (high cupboard), and a big flour bomb exploded all over my kitchen. So you can imagine, my patience was wearing very thin. So I will not give you a yummy icing recipe, because I didn't use one. I just bunged icing sugar, a knob of marg, a few drops of vanilla, a splash of rice milk and a dash of water to a bowl, with some more green food colouring, and there we go, a nice basic and very green icing, to go with the theme of the day.

As for the Shamrock out of 100's and 1000's? Well, I drew a shamrock shape on a piece of card, held that over the cupcake and sprinkled it with the 100s and 1000s, I did one... it sort of turned out....

But the effort required? Nup, wasn't up for it, and plus I was nearly out of 100s and 1000s. So this is what the rest ended up looking like lol

A gourmet baker I am not!

But I think I earned myself a drink or 2 tonight!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cold weather is coming, with that comes SOUP

Sitting in my fridge for the past few days has been half a pumpkin. Decided to get ready for the cold weather (well, we had some last week, not so much this week though typically!). So guess what I made today? Yummy pumpkin soup! I like this recipe because it's really easy, is dairy free, cheap to make with ingredients already in the cupboard, and ultimately it tastes really good! Hubby and the kids all rave about it, so I have never really tried different recipes.

Pumpkin soup 

Half a pumpkin, skinned and chopped into chunks
2 Tablespoons powdered chicken stock
1 onion, diced 
Ground pepper 
Half a tsp curry powder (I tend to add a bit more, we are big curry fans in this house)
1.5 Litres of water  (original recipe calls for 2L, I prefer it with less water to make a thicker soup, but if you are wanting to make the soup stretch further go for 2L).

Simmer all ingredients until tender (about 45 mins) 

Leave to cool, blend until smooth. (if you prefer a more chunky soup, feel free to grab a potato masher and just mash up the lumps or leave it as is, I however think that blending this recipe just makes it that much yummier!)
Add 50g of butter (or dairy free alternative) and heat through.
Season with ground nutmeg.

This soup is suprisingly creamy considering it doesn't actually have any cream in it. It's good for the waistline too, it was a regular lunch for me teamed with some home made bread last winter while I was in the midst of trying to lose weight.

Which brings me to this - my favourite bread recipe. Mostly because it's oh so easy, you don't need to knead it, and it's full of goodness.

Annabel Langbein's Busy People Bread

Makes 2 loaves, halve it for 1! I normally make the 2, slice it up, bag it and freeze. Then just pull out as many slices as I need from the freezer.

No kneading!

2 cups of boiling water
4 tsp honey
2 cups cold water
7 tsps of yeast granules
2 3/4 cups of high grade flour
2 3/4 cups of wholemeal flour
3 tsps salt
2 cups of sunflour seeds
4 Tbsps pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 80*c, prepare two loaf tins.
In a large bowl mix the boiling water and honey till disolved. Add the cold water and yeast and put to one side for 10 mins.
Whisk the yeast mixture then add the flours, salt and sunflower seeds and mix with a large spoon untill combined.
Divide the mixture between the loaf tins, and sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds. Run a sharp knife along the top of each loaf, at least 3 or 4 places so it rises evenly without splitting.
Bake at 80*c for 20 mins, and then turn up the oven to 210*c and then bake for a further 30-40 mins. When cooked the loaves will sound hollow when tapped.

I also added LSA and kibbled wheat for shits n giggles. No kneading, makes a rather sloppy sticky mixture. But turns out quite like vogels. Delish!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Reward Systems

I was on a message board this morning and there was somebody asking about rewards systems and what others do. I shared what works in this house, and I got feedback that people quite liked the idea so I thought I would share it with you lot.

We do a marble system. Marbles because we have a lot of them, they are small and don't take up space, and the kids quite like them. You can use anything little really.

For us, one marble = 10c. You can make it worth as much or as little as you want. Or money may not be your child's currency, think about what really gets them going. Some it may be computer/screen time (so one marble may equal 5mins computer time or something), it could be quality time together (20 marbles is a trip to the park with Mum..) - find what works with your child. Cold hard cash is my 7yo's currency. My 4yo however, he doesn't seem to have any currency! We have tried various things, no computer/tv, no treat food (none of my baking!), and all that jazz, nothing seems to be what he cares about enough to actually have any effect. So he does cash too simply because his brother does. It does work, just not as well.

Then you need to think up a list of jobs and/or behaviours. Some ideas that we have used in the past or are using now:

Getting the washing in
Putting away the dishes
Bedrooms are tidy before bed
Put clean washing in drawers
Set the table for dinner

or other age appropriate jobs

We also have a marble for "Positive attitude". This means if they are mean to each other, there is no marble. This means if they don't do as they are asked, they get no marble. This means if they are sulky or full of attitude, they get no marble. It's a broad one, but ensures pretty decent behaviour most of the time ("do you need to lose your attitude marble today?").

You might like to add in a marble for keeping pants dry if your child is still toilet training, or whatever else you want them to work on.

We dish out marbles every night before bed (or if we forget, after breakfast the following day). Once they reach $5 worth, we exchange it for cash. Santa brought them wallets for Christmas so they keep their cash in there. They are quite proud of their pocket money.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Another Pinterest Find

Cheap Chocolate Cake. And apparently its gorgeous. As I type this, the cake is in the oven. And I have to say the mixture is beautiful. I found the recipe at Sprinkled With Flour

It's made with the most basic of ingredients, and no milk, butter or eggs in the batter. And its a good sized cake.

Now, the recipe calls for it to be put in an UNGREASED cake pan. This makes me very nervous! I didn't grease it, as it specified for me not to. I am interested to see how it will turn out haha! So here is the recipe:

Cheap Chocolate Cake

3 cups all purpose flour
2 Cups sugar (I used a bit less than 1.5 cups, 2 cups to me is a lot!)
1/3 Cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cups oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
2 Cups hot water

Preheat oven to 180*C. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour the oil, white vinegar, vanilla, and hot water into the well. Gently mix with a fork until combined. Do not use an electric mixer. Bake in an ungreased 9x13 baking dish, for 30-35 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. Cool completely or at least until the cake is barely warm.


1/3 Cup milk (any fat percentage works fine) (I used rice milk and it worked)
1 Cup sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (added at the end)

In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer, then add the sugar and cocoa. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes at a full boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. After glaze has cooled for a few minutes, whisk in the vanilla. Now use a fork to poke holes in the surface of the entire cake. Pour the glaze over the cake, and spread evenly with a spoon, making sure the whole surface is covered. Let cool until the glaze has hardened. It will become smooth and hard to the touch once cooled. This hardening process may take just a few minutes, or up to an hour. So make sure you keep an eye on the glaze while it is cooling in the pan. You don't want it to set up in the pan, and not be able to pour it over the cake. Serve and enjoy! This cake keeps very well for several days...if it lasts that long. :)

And the result?

Well, it came out of the pan with a tiny bit of coaxing, but nothing stuck so all good there. And the taste? Well it was fricken beautiful I tell you! Really moist, and the icing is like a fudge. Next time I make it I will probably try it with a normal choc icing as it's easier to make and this icing cracks and falls off as you cut it/bite into it which makes it messy for the kids to eat, but it really is yum!! A definite recipe to make time and again, cheap to make and tastes oh so good.

I should mention though - mine seems to have come out a lot denser than the one from the other blog seems to have come out as (judging by the pictures). Nevermind, I love me a dense cake!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Easter is coming!

Last Easter I hunted out for the best Chocolate Hot Cross Bun recipe. The hubby isn't a fan of traditional hot cross buns (gasp!) so I thought I would start a new tradition for chocolate ones (as if we don't have enough chocolate over Easter haha!).

I came across this recipe here from Devonport Chocolates. It is DIVINE! Absolutely amazing, and you get these beautiful, soft, light buns. Haven't yet made them this year (too early to get into Easter just yet), but I will share with you the picture from last year which was my very first go at making them. The photo really doesn't do them justice, you really need to try them for yourself!

Choc Cross Buns


1 1/2 cups warm milk
2x 8g sachets of dried yeast
pinch of salt
5 cups flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Cocoa
60g Butter
1 egg
1 cup 56% cocoa solids chocolate drops


1/2 cup plain flour
1 Tbsp Cocoa
1/3 cup Water


1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp Sugar


Combine milk, yeast, salt and a pinch of sugar in a bowl. Whisk together and cover with plastic wrap.
Put in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until top is frothy. (Mine only had a very light froth).
Sift flour, cocoa and cinnamon together into a large bowl. Lightly beat the egg, melt butter and add to
the flour mix along with the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir until dough is nearly together then mix the rest of the way with hands.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth.
Place into a lightly oiled or buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.
Punch down dough to its original size. Add chocolate drops as you knead the dough. This does take some work. Knead dough until it doesn’t separate immediately when pulled and is satiny in texture.
(I kneaded for approximately 15 minutes). If there are any chocolate chips left over this is a good time to eat them, while you are working.
Divide dough into 12 or more balls and put in a lamington or oven pan lined with baking paper. Place 1 cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap and put somewhere warm until they have doubled in size.

Mix flour, cocoa and water together. Add more water if required to make a runny paste. Put mixture in a piping bag or a zip lock bag and cut corner. Squeeze paste across buns in pan to make crosses on the top.
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Bake buns for approximately 20minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Heat water and sugar on a low heat stirring until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
Brush onto buns.
Eat warm or at room temperature. Store in an air tight container.
Variations: Play around with your favourite flavours, you could add orange peel or sultanas if you like the original hot cross buns

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Peach Muffins

(I wrote this blog post over a week ago. Then blogspot had a tantrum and I have been locked out of my account for the past week. Finally it seems to have sorted its issues out, and I can finish this post off with the photos I was wanting to add!)

Have a sicky kid at home the past couple of days, along with my other 2 preschoolers today too. Motivation has been at an all time low. Though we have run out baked goods in the freezer so decided I best get my butt into gear and get something made.

This is a quick, easy, effortless recipe that makes really quite yummy muffins.

From the Chelsea Sugar website, only adaptations I made were the usual rice milk for milk and dairy free spread for butter

Peach Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar (though I used probably more like 2/3 cup)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
125g melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 cup chopped peaches (I used well drained tinned peaches - the whole tin)

Mix all ingredients together in order as listed until just combined. Don't over mix or the muffins will be dense and tough.
Put into muffin paper cases lining muffin tins or well greased or oil sprayed muffns tins.
Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes.

Yummy :)

In other news, I have been doing good at the gym, I actually itch to go now lol. Thursdays I don't get to go and I always feel like something is missing from my day. I'm really enjoying it. I have started the c25k training programme for running, and I'm actually starting to look forward to my blats on the treadmill now. I used to wonder why on earth anyone would run on a treadmill when they could sit on a bike haha. Now I don't like the bike, I go for the treadmill. Have been doing weights and classes - the lot! It's fun!

I also donated some books to Starship hospital the other day, via a lady in our community who is doing a big collection for them. Felt good to be able to support a cause that is close to my heart (thankfully not so much for my own children, but I have one of my best friends whose son has spent far more time there than is fair, which in turn has seen me at the hospital a fair whack in support). So that was something else crossed off my 101 list and just a feel good thing full stop.

My day's excitement

I am so excited to share this with you guys. It has been a work in progress for about a year now! One day last year I got sick of the pile of bags that would happen after school/kindy underneath our breakfast bar (which has never been used as a breakfast bar, more a storage area as we don't have much storage space in our house!)

I have always had a couple of plastic drawer units which have housed art and craft stuff for the kids, and some toys. Beside the drawers, the school bags would get dumped. One day I was inspired by Pinterest. I didn't get the idea directly from there, but just various different pins made me come up with the idea.

I had a few white shelving units lying around from The Warehouse. It's their old ones, the wider version of what they have now (which would work just as well if not better as they now sell canvas boxes that actually fit in them! But they are also narrower so it depends on the bags you want to store in them). Anyways, I took the top shelf out, and put them back together. The kids now store their bags in the big space created and I always intended to get baskets of some sort to put in the bottom, for them to store stuff they need for school and kindy (homework books and whatnot). Instead, the bottom stayed basketless and junk just got shoved in.

Until today!

You all know how cheap I am, which is what delayed the basket getting as I loathed to spend money. Well a while ago my husband brought home something in a wine box (unfortunately it wasn't wine!). I discovered it was the PERFECT fit, just a bit tall. Finally I remembered to remind him to bring home 3 more wine boxes for me (the first one was long gone of course, being a few months ago!). Then I had the issue of prettying them up. I did toss up the idea of just painting them black, but then I worried I wouldn't be able to get it looking tidy enough. Plus, how boring! But then I had the idea of covering them with fabric. And again, I'm cheap. I went to the local Hospice Shop (op shop) and scoured their shelves of material. I got really lucky and found a piece that not only looks perfect but was the perfect size (typical me didn't measure how much I would need before going there, I just happened to get the PERFECT size by sheer luck). $5! What a score.

Anyways, this is what I came up with:

And now I will guide you through how to cover boxes in material the best I can. My main advice is to look at some youtube tutorials and then muddle through it yourself that way, as I couldn't take very good photos while I was actually DOING the hard bits (like the corners) as simply I don't have 100 hands.

To cover a wine box, you will need material roughly 83cm x 113cm. Turns out the material I got was super easy to use because of the dots - they made perfect cutting guides and made lining things up super easy!

Firstly, plonk your box in the middle of the material and make sure all sides go up and over with a bit of excess material for just in case. Then cover the bottom of the box with glue - you can use a piece of cardboard off-cut to spread it out so you don't get ugly glue lines everywhere. Stick the box down in the middle of the material and smooth out to remove any wrinkles.

Now do the sides that won't be showing to the front (Ideally. I accidentally did it the opposite way around with my 3rd box, I was getting a bit cocky by then and not paying as much attention haha, and it still looks fine, but for your first try especially, do the sides first as your first is never as neat as your last).

Before gluing the sides, you will need to cut them. Cut them roughly 2cm from the actual side of the box, right down to the line that the bottom of the box makes. Does that make sense? You can sort of see in the photo where the cut stops. Try not to cut too far!

Now cover the side with glue, spread it out, then lift the material over it and smooth it over so there are no wrinkles. Repeat on the other side.

Now to do the front and the back. Firstly I cut the excess material, the same as doing the sides, roughly 2cm excess. Then I glued down the overlap bit from the sides onto the box. Next, cover the box side with glue and spread it. Add a line of glue down the edge of the loose bit of material on the overlap part (left and right hand sides). Then don't worry about that part for now. This is the tricky bit but once you have it worked out its really quite easy. Lift the material over the glue.

This bit is the hard to explain part. You want to fold the material underneath itself to create a straight side. The fold should already have glue on it from before, therefore will stick to itself. Pull it tight and smooth it over the box, repeating on the other side. Then turn the box over and do the front (or back, depending which ends up as the neatest side haha!)

You should now have a box that covered in material on the outside and an excess of loose material on the inside.

I chose to cut off the excess and just keep about 4cm to glue down as I don't care what the inside of the box looks like. You might like to cover the inside with material too, that's up to you to work out how to do haha!

And voila, a fabric covered box!