homemade vanilla extract

I can't remember where I initially saw this on the internets, but as soon as I did I knew I'd be giving it a crack. I followed a recipe over at Chocolate and Zucchini, but I did 500ml of white rum and about 6 beans. The one pictured on the left I made for us in December last year and it'll be ready mid February, the right hand one is a gift for a friend's birthday and it'll be ready to use in March.

To purchase the vanilla beans I sceptically went to ebay Australia and guess what, yep I got over 30 nice juicy fat beans for about $30 including postage, which in my books is excellent. 

The beauty of making the extract is that you can top it up over time with more alcohol and refresh the beans.

EDIT: The lovely graphic I've used on my label came from Twig and Thistle's Valentine goodie bag freebie.



I've been craving granola recently and a little interwebs research led me to boogaj's recipe. My tweaks: cashews, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds and at the last 20 minutes of cooking  I added chopped dried apricots and cranberries. I also used organic oats and omitted the wheat germ oh and the cardamom, not a fan, I went overboard with the organic cinnamon instead. Can I say, DELISH. DEVINE. So yummy with natural yoghurt or just a handful as a snack.


I am (pioneer) woman hear me roar

Kath sent me a link for whipup, home made pasta. I was all "I'm going to do this". What I forget is during the week after work my brain is tired. Sondra had today off and I casually mentioned she could have a go if she wanted, following The Pioneer Woman's tutorial. We were totally lo-fi until it came to the final rolling and cutting stage. At that point I pulled out the pasta attachment for the Kitchenaid. What a little gem. It rolled the pasta and cut it beautifully. It helped that Son and I pummelled the crap out of the dough beforehand, next time we'll use the dough hook. So we're sorta pioneering but not quite. So Jess, look forward to some pioneering pasta tomorrow night.

Pioneer pasta blog

new kitchens and friands

The past weekend I managed to sneak in some baking time in the kitchen. Awesome. The oven and I are still circling each other but we’ll get there. More pictures soon. Tomorrow the floor is being put in! WOOT!!

The Son found this awesome recipe for strawberry friands. YUMMMM. I’ve added Milk and Cookies to my bloglines, nice that they’re an Aussie and I don’t have to translate their measurements. Great little blog too.




I also gave the strawberry and ricotta shortcakes a go. Nice recipe I’d try again, I overcooked mine a little, but still tasty.

Gearing up for Christmas around here. Planning baking and food and pressies. I have printed our Christmas cards on the gocco this year and a calendar, when I can photograph them in decent light I’ll show. I’m loving the gocco.

We also have a new little buddy coming for Spud, well for us too! More details later next week. He’s small, furry and will be named Teddy/Ted. I dunno it we’ll be seeing Spud enjoying his box time as much in the near future 🙂


Happy crafting!

a bit of this and that

Howdy there. I know, it’s been a while. There’s been a little baking, a little crafting, a lot of unpacking and organising.

I actually don’t have a lot to tell you at the moment without boring you with my domesticity. I’m loving it, but writing it here for you guys to read is another thing! It’s the blog’s birthday on 27th July, three years. I’m planning on doing something so come on back on the 27th. I’m impressed I’ve kept it going for that long, doesn’t feel like three years.

I’ll leave you with some pics, I seem to only be able to photograph at night at the moment, no flash, so they’re still grainy, and a link to Jen’s blog. Go on over and welcome her.

Homemade apple pie, sorry the pastry is out of a packet.

London Beanie, a little small, a Dublin Beanie will be next.

WIP, for the crafty space. Tutorial over at the Purl Bee and flickr group.

A present for The Son’s birthday, a Wee Wonderful’s kitty. Great pattern, fun and easy to follow.


Spud’s tower of power has returned to the living room. He loves lording it over us up there.

*Sigh* a partly organised crafty space. Yes I sewed amongst this chaos. Maybe this week it’ll be finished. For the voyeurs an annotated pic over here.

I can’t promise I’ll post again before the 27th, so until then, happy crafting!

channelling the inner goddess

Slowly getting back my domestic goddess groove. Still surrounded by unpacked cartons, waiting for the painter to come before we finish unpacking. Today there was oiling the outdoor setting, cooking and baking. Had a little time to play with the D80 today, slowly feeling my way around, you’ll all be my guinea pigs so be patient with my over exposed, under exposed, out of focus shots!

Today’s the first day that I’ve started yearning for my crafty space. I’m itching to sew and play in my new craft room. I love that I can stick stuff on walls and pretty much do what I want, no landlords to worry about.

So. Today. Mother’s Day – out to breakfast with The Son and my parents, they’re moving to Noosa next month which I have mixed feelings about. Then home for a mid morning nap and trashy magazine read. An afternoon filled with oiling furniture, cooking beef bourginon and baking banana cake using my new stand mixer, she’s a beauty.



Living room – replacing the green, think orange is the winner, or a different pink.


Beautiful housewarming present from Al and Wes on the Noguchi reproduction coffee table.


Spud loves the new backyard…


AND new cushions.


Happy crafting!