Sunday, 9 December 2012

DIY Cat Tea Set

As you know, I've been busy making my best friend's Christmas presents (like the galaxy shoes I made). She's very fond of cats and tea, so I decided to combine both her loves and get her a cat-themed tea set. After much searching, I couldn't find a set that I really liked, so I decided to make my own. It turned out to be very simple.


Tea cups + saucers
Porcelaine paint, fine and thick tip

Give your cups and saucers a good clean and allow to dry.

You can buy a stencil or draw freehand. I printed and cut out two images that I liked and traced around them on the cups using pencil. I drew all the paw prints by freehand, which is why they kind of vary in size. I think it adds to their unique appeal ;)

I decided to use Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint pens, both the thick and fine tips. Using the fine tip pen, go over the outline of your design. Then, using the thick pen, carefully fill in the inside. It's going to look a bit streaky, so you'll want to go over the design another 1-2 times. Wait at least 24 hours each time you go over your design.

After your final design has been allowed to dry for 24 hours, place your cups and saucers in a 
cold oven and set it to 150*c. After 35 minutes, turn off your oven and allow them to rest in the oven until it's completely cool.

Give the cups and saucers a quick wash and your done! The pens say that they're dishwasher safe, but I'd stick to gentle hand-washing just in case.

I have a pretty shaky hand, so I think mine turned out ok considering! The design possibilities are endless, so let your imagination run wild.

My friend's present is now wrapped and ready to go :)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

DIY Galaxy Shoes

I decided to make a pair of galaxy shoes for my best friend for Christmas (and a pair for me too!). I used this nebula image as inspiration. A quick image search for 'nebula' on Google will give you some great ideas.


Shoes, preferably black or dark blue
Acrylic paint - I chose dark blue, purple and white but you can pick any nebula-like colours
Waterproof spray

Start off by removing the laces from the shoes to keep them nice and clean. You can also tape over the eyelets and rubber to keep the paint off, but I decided to just go for it and clean off the excess paint with acetone at the end.

With your sponge, dab your first colour paint onto your shoe in a nebula like shape. Do this all over the shoe and try to keep your nebulas all different shapes and sizes. Do this with the rest of your colours, gently layering them. You can't really mess up this step. Just keep going until you think they look nebula like.

Next, dip your paintbrush into the white paint. Hold your brush horizontally over your shoe and gently tap the brush close to the bristles. This creates a splatter effect that looks like stars. Do this all over your shoe with as many or as little stars as you like. I think the more the better.

Once this is dry, we can create bigger stars to make your shoes really pop. I'm not very artistic, so for my stars I painted a thin + and lightly dabbed paint around its middle to make it look like a glowing star. Randomly scatter a few of these over your shoes.
Once your shoes are dry, gently remove unwanted paint from the eyelets and rubber using acetone.

Give your shoes a good coating of waterproof spray. Wait for this to dry and give it another 1-2 sprays. Your shoes will be splash proof, but I don't recommend jumping in any puddles. 

Once dry, rethread your laces and you're done!

All that's left is to slip on these bad boys and enjoy your one of a kind shoes. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Chocolate, caramel and hazelnut slice

My favourite recipe as a kid was Mum's chocolate and caramel slice. After recently digging out the recipe, I decided to give it my own twist by adding hazelnuts. If you're not a fan of hazelnuts, you can leave out the nuts and replace the hazelnut meal with more coconut instead.

What makes this recipe so simple is the caramel Top' n' Fill. There are plenty of recipes out there for your own caramel, but this stuff is just as yummy and saves time on making the caramel, which can be a bit fiddly.


130g butter
1 cup plain flour (I used wholemeal, but you can also use white)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup hazelnut meal

1 - 2 x 100g can Top' n' Fill

300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (you can also use milk chocolate)
A handful of hazelnuts, chopped

To make the base, preheat your oven to 180°c and line your baking tin/dish with baking paper. I like my slice quite thin, but if you'd like yours thicker, just use a smaller baking dish.

In a bowl, melt your butter in the microwave. Add all of your dry ingredients and combine until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. The mix smells delicious!

Press the mix into your baking dish. Use the back of your spoon to ensure the mix is packed down firmly and evenly.

Pop the dish into the oven for 15-20mins or until it's golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once cool, spread the caramel over the base using the back of your spoon. I only used one can but if you're a caramel fiend, you can use two.

Roughly chop your chocolate and melt. I melted mine in the microwave, stirring every 10-15secs. Make sure you use a metal spoon and keep any moisture away to stop the chocolate from seizing.

Working quickly, use your spoon to spread the melted chocolate over the caramel. This part can be a bit tricky and messy! Be careful not to let too much of the caramel mix with the chocolate, otherwise your chocolate will start to go lumpy and will not spread well.

Sprinkle with your chopped hazelnuts and pop the slice into the fridge to set.

Once the chocolate has set, remove the slice from your dish and, using a warmed knife, gently cut your slice into squares.

Your slice is now ready to eat! Make yourself a cuppa and enjoy one (or two, or three...).

Monday, 29 October 2012

When life gives you lemons...

With an abundance of fruit on our lemon tree, we’ve been making lemon flavoured everything lately. 

My favourite thing to make is lemon meringue pie and, since I know quite a few people with a sweet tooth, I’ve been whipping up one every week or two. Not good for the waistline but in order to use up those lemons, it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make.

Here’s a recipe that I discovered a few years ago. The sweet meringue with the tangy lemon filling makes a great combination.

Also attempted to make a batch of lemon butter but we accidentally sealed the jars while the mixture was still hot and it failed to thicken. Never fear, we used the mix as lemon sauce and saved the cute little jars for next time.

Lastly, I've been making batches of lemon shortbread. While the first batch wasn't quite right (someone might have used cornflour instead of icing sugar!), the next attempts came out great. Yum!