Saturday, 17 January 2009

If anyone wants me...

.... I'll be in my club. We're off on a family holiday, to see my Mum, and then cool our heels on the Gold Coast for a bit.

This was me last time we did a similar holiday, in my "club" - the balcony, where the early morning weather was delightful, tea was served, and I could read to my heart's content.

So I don't expect to update the blog any time between now and the very end of the month - unless Mum's place has suddenly gone all high tech. We'll see. See ya then!

Come to my Stamp Club

South Eastern Rubber Stampers is my stamp club! We meet on the LAST Saturday of every month, except when we don't (that's usually just December). We've been going for years! I've been running it for around 8 years on and off. We've moved venues and had heaps of people coming and going. We still have one founder member, which is amazing. We usually have a dozen or so happy stampers. Contact me if you want to come. Next meeting is on 31 January! Just thought I'd mention it here, 'cos why not?

We meet at Mount St Neighbourhood House from 1pm to around 5pm on meeting days. We often pack up around 4pm, but when someone's on a roll, nobody stops them.

I don't often take photos at meetings, but here's one I snapped because I had a new phone. The other photo is from my Christmas cards for 2008. Crackle, whoa!

Mmm, peanut butter...

Mmm. Made these. Then chocolate coated them (messily, hence no photo). Then ate them (that's the second reason for no photo). Here's the recipe...

The amount of filling it said to make was twice what I needed. So, there's spare in the freezer for another batch.

We are running out of Polymer Clay

Because the kids are getting so good at it ...

To understand how good these are, you need to be aquainted with Munchkin, a hilarious card game that pokes merciless fun at fantasy role playing games (the kind where you cast spells and kill dragons). Here's a sample card.

And it would help if you knew of Monty Python Fluxx. Which leads me to normal Fluxx, an excellent card game I'd recommend for kids and adults.

Here's the "Yippy Munchkin Dude" from the box, made by Jonathan :

Then there's the Orc, made by Catriona :

And the highly impressive Black Beast of Arrrggghhh by Thomas (from Monty Python Fluxx) - and from Monty Python:

We've started using Modelene, an Aussie polymer clay in bright and satisfying colours, easy to work, and the distributor is just in the next suburb. So, I need more...

Take your kids to the china shop!

No, really, it's a neat activity, very rewarding, not overly expensive ... we went to Robert Gordon (they've just set up a new shop quite close to us) and painted stuff!

The boys did Ducks:

Catriona did a pig :

And I did a side plate (with yummy cupcakes!)

In ten days or so I go back to collect them - they will look all shiny and pretty after firing!

Did you know, you can use rubber stamps on plates? They had a few stamps and some fired samples - they looked good. For reference, the only stamp pad they had on hand was a black Colorbox pad (which was dried out by the time I came to it). So I didn't use any stamps, but wow, I think I will next time.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

In which we find gold and raspberry drops!

We had a very special day out - Sovereign Hill in Ballarat! It's such a fabulous visit, it's a shame to leave it to the tourists...

Once you get over the drive to get there (not that bad really) it's such a great day - there's so much to do inside, and you can get away without spending a cent (although I confess we didn't try that - it's nice to support all the interesting shops inside).

Here's Jonathan panning for gold (we found several bits - our collection is getting pretty extensive now.) This is what I'd call good honest semi-educational fun. You certainly come away with the feel for the WORK you had to do on the goldfields.

But most of that is forgotten when you discover you also get to suck on home-made raspberry drops (oh yum).

Here's a picture of a batch of humbugs, just made in the old fashioned lolly factory!

Let me know if you want to go to Sovereign Hill, because I have coupons to give away (free kids' entry, a genuine good deal).

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

That's funny, MY banana is very happy!

The lovely France has a problem with sad bananas. Follow the link and you'll see what I mean. Ya have to read to the bottom...

Well, I have the opposite problem!

Yes, I *had* used a knife to snip into the banana peel.

But this, of course, lead to this...

... and more fruit eating than usual - yay!

Monday, 12 January 2009

John's Tomato

One little tomato, looking wistfully up to the sky, wonders "When will I be a sandwich?". Be patient, little tomato, you will be a sandwich tomorrow.

John (that's Mr Chris) is growing a fabulous garden, and presented me with one splendid tomato when I was visiting.

To make the perfect tomato sandwich, grind on some Buddha's Brew, the nicest salt and herb mix we've found.

Decisions, decisions

I'm working on the NEXT magazine article. Something crafty, but as usual, I can't disclose any details yet (can't go spoiling the surprise!). Here's my paint palette during a work session.

Just what shade of pink is right for this? And what brand of paint? Should it be pink at all? Should it be paint? And what about the thing I'm painting ON - that's still up in the air too.

It's no surprise there are a few months between articles for me.

I did have another one accepted though (it's pretty, you'll like it). So that's TWO in the works. One is going to be in Cardmaking, Stamping and Papercraft 14 no. 8, which is not far away (I was just reading no. 6 over Christmas). And the second one will be many months in the preparation. That's publishing for you.

For other inspiration, they are looking for cards that cost $5 to make. Hmm, tough challenge, but I think if I tape two $2 coins inside I could manage it.

Happy Birthday Jeff

We decided to celebrate Jeff's birthday with a cake - no, some cupcakes - no, fruit salad - wait, no, it's looking like - DONUTS! Or Doughnuts, depending on where you went to school.

I tried the Secret Donut Recipe, in combination with the Not Secret Donut Maker, and was pretty pleased at the results - well, aesthetically anyway. The taste is yet to be tested.

Oh, yes, photography tip - when photographing food, get it close - ridiculously close. Makes the viewer chew the edge of the monitor!

Actually, I WILL cut up some fruit salad - the lovely Lizzie gave me half a rockmelon yesterday, and that's just what we need.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Mr Turtle is my Father!

Just catching up - we went to AQWA (the Perth aquarium) and it was fabulous! I touched a shark. The kids touched a sea cucumber. Now we just have to work on getting them to acknowledge LAND cucumbers. Boom, boom!

Friday, 9 January 2009

This just in - They have Ducks!

We went by Croydon yesterday on a textbook shopping mission (year 8 Chinese, thanks for asking) and discovered that our old friends Robert Gordon have opened up a shop way closer to home. It's a china shop (just the place to take bumptious kids, you say...), and it's a super visit, because you can paint your own stuff! They fire it and have it ready for you to collect. We've done it several times - I have a mug and a little snack bowl. Both boys have a side plate, dinner plate and piggy bank (shown in the photo), and Catriona has a mug. We've suffered a few breakages over the years too, so it's always time to paint more.

And here's the news flash - for $12, you can paint a duck! Just like a rubber ducky, only china! Now that is inspiring!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

I'd recommend - a donut!

We're back in Melbourne! Yay! Yesterday was busy with unpacking, fixing problems (the car had become unregistered - yikes!) and settling in. Today, time for a "project". And there's no snacks in the house. And when I did grocery shopping yesterday I forgot eggs, so I can't make a cake.

So : I followed a recipe I'd been meaning to try out. It's the secret donut recipe, found on a web site. The man who developed it (with his baker dad) explains that he's a teacher needing extra income, and he gives you lots of web site tips too.

Anyway, the recipe is the real deal, very yummy indeed. There's some left for after dinner.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Sparkly New Year

A true tradition that does go back more than one day - we like to burn though some sparklers on New Year's Eve. Here's Catriona with one. I held one this year - I didn't realise, but I actually hadn't held my own sparkler in years (always taking photos or helping the kids). You have to try it, it looks so different when you hold one yourself!

Seeing in the New Year, Laing Style

If only we could make Gingerbread houses without all that tiresome baking (it IS rather hot here). And if they were chocolate flavoured, that'd be good. Oh, and miniature.

That's when I suddenly realised that it was time to follow the age-old tradition, in my family since early 2009, of making WAFER HOUSES. We bought cheap wafer biscuits, and royal-icinged them together. I was happy with that, but the team decided they'd look better with smarties on them too. We made a small village and left them to set until after dinner. Then they were eaten.

To be honest, not that delicious - the icing made the crisp wafers not as crisp. But hey.