Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos

Friday, 30 November 2012

Spiced Shortbread Crescents

Baked over and over at Christmas time - usually by the teenager now. We double this recipe!

125g unsaleable butter chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 icing sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3/4 cup self raising flour
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup icing sugar (extra)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (extra)

Beat butter, vanilla and sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg and maple syrup.
Stir in almonds, sifter flours and spices.
Press together to form a firm dough.
Knead gently on a floured surface until smooth.
Shape into crescents.
Bake in a moderate oven until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool.
Toss cold shortbread in the combined icing sugar and cinnamon mix.

Makes around 25 - a gorgeous gift! These keep for a week or more in a sealed container!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Falling asleep

I have been scanning , scanning, scanning books for the library stocktake and came out with a list of over 1000 missing/ misplaced items.... Several days later this is down under 650 - whew - but still ways to go! A mad, crazy time of the year. Not my favourite thing chasing children with overdues or ransacking classrooms looking for stuff......

I received one of my Christmas ornament swaps from Christina Lowry's swap - - it is gorgeous and all I know is that it was made by someone called Julie in Hants , UK. No blog or e- mail address for me to look up/ say thanks to.
The funny thing is that it was opened by customs and luckily it passed inspection! :)

Looking forward to lots more mail too!

Recipe tomorrow - I am seriously whacked!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Weekend shots

A quiet weekend. Gardening. Veges for dinner. A bit of knitting and reading while eating Christmas cake. Views from the bedroom. Baking by eldest child. Recipe coming tomorrow!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

We met an old friend today

Look who turned up on our doorstep! Boys loved it! Sadly Greg is not staying in our house but is off to a school. Sadly not my school either, but I did suggest to owner Greg could school hop!
I have been stocktaking my school library and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books have grown legs and run away ...
An alarming number of them!
I think this is THE book ( or series!) for this generation , just like the Harry Potter sensation years ago. (those sit on my shelves and never go out! Far too thick for my students I think.)

What books do you think define current kid's lives?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

New Zealand Christmas Cracker Swop

Head on over to for a handmade NZ only Christmas cracker swop. I heard about this via Cat at today.

I have just posted the last of my 11 swaps today - yippee - I now look forward to lots of gorgeous crafty things in my letterbox!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Crafty happenings

I am taking part in Christina Lowry's ( Christmas ornament swap. My items were posted off on Saturday. Several friends have loved these, sink am
Making more for them - a quick 1-2 can be made very night.

I have finished a kina cardigan for a baby still to be born - used 2.5 balls of double knit and took me just over a week! I will make another one soon. Meanwhile I have started the adult version of it, knitting with Tahki Yarns "Rio" colour a 10 ply wool made in Turkey. I discovered the most amazing wool shop in Milford last week and spent half a weeks pay in wool...
The husband did not have much to say when I pointed to his new coffee machine :)

I have new calendars, diaries and notecards courtesy of the boys- I love this fundraiser and am so delighted with their amazing artwork. I embarrassed them by buying so much - "Mum. Nobody ordered as much as you" they both said! I adore stationery
And things like this! Easy Christmas presents I think!

Anyone taking part in Christmas swaps - I am doing 11 :) - 3/4 posted on Saturday and another 3 to post!
Some are ornament swaps though .

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Impulse Clear Out

I really should have taken photos! I started clearing off the 9 year old's bookcase of picture books this afternoon - so many of his favourites/ my favourites. Mot have been re- arranged onto the master big bookcase in the lounge and I cannot bare to throw very many out at all! I have my favourite picture book authors which we have collected for years like Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Gavin Bishop, Betty and Alan Gilderdale, Grandma McGarvey, Pamela Allen, John Burningham - we have many titles of all of these authors and ones more of the first board books etc up in the attic!

This then led onto a damn good vacuum clean of his entire room - yikes! I think with my new glasses I am able to see the dust a bit more. The walls need to be attacked seriously with a damp cloth!
This then led to me opening the wardrobe door - h,mm what 9 year old colours in colouring books? None I know! The scary thing is finding all these brand new ones that were never used... And scrapbook after scrapbook and tiny tiny notebooks and notepads and puzzle books - a food clear. Then we started looking in the toy bins! Wow! A good chuck out!
Then moving around of things and I finally ended up with 4 decent sized plastic bins empty!!! That is one decent clear out / tidy up I think!

The dress ups all went up into the attic - I have so many fond memories of so many of these outfits - esp with this child who had the most bizarre sense of dress when at kindergarten!
He is left with a TON of Lego, lots and lots of playmobil, mobilo, board games , science kits and very little junk!

Hooray - a great impulse clear out - totally in- intended but always great before Christmas!

Do you do this before Christmas? What are good staple toys in your house? ( I hate junk and have always bought quality over quantity!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Mad About Bags Christmas Cracker swop

This festive season I am involved with several bloggy swaps. Several are handmade Christmas ornament swops and another is Mad About Bags Christmas Cracker swop. I have been paired with Tracy from Mad About Bags ( and her sewing is gorgeous!) and also Anne from Victoria in Australia.

Anne's crackers arrived today! We are supposed to send them in a cardboard tube, but in this house we are a long way from finishing any tube, so I
made one today and the other one will be wrapped in fabric.
Anne's was gorgeous - the wrapping wow! I waited till my husband was home to show them to him before I opened them. ( He thinks us swappers are all crazy!)

I loved the cupcake cross stitch bookmark especially and the little divine DMC needle case - so sweet. The buttons were gorgeous too and lots of fab fabric to add to the stash! And 2 such pretty handkerchiefs - one even with the letter K on it! How fabulous is that? And such a sweet little birdie ornament too. It is amazing what you can fit into a cardboard tube! I have hidden the chocolate from the boys.

So exciting to receive gorgeous goodies from around the world! Thanks so much Anne - loved it! and Tracy too for organising it!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Home made Ginger Beer

We have made a ginger beer plant and the first batch was very successful!

You need:
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
1 rounded teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

Mix all together in a big jar, cover with a piece of muslin and secure with a rubber band.
Each day for the next week , add one teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon ground ginger.

The plant - divide the plant left in the muslin into 2 halves. Place one of these in a glass jar with a cup of warm water. Then the next day start feeding as per before.
The other half of the plant can be thrown out OR you can have 2 plants going. (we drink this so fast, 2 plants is good!)

To make up the ginger beer-

For the syrup you need:
2 cups of sugar
24 cups of warm water
1/2 cup of strained lemon juice

Then strain the ginger beer plant through two layers of muslin. Pour the resulting liquid into the syrup and mix well. Bottle and seal. The ginger beer should be ready to drink by the end of a week.

We bought our bottles at The Warehouse for only $2 each! We made around 8 bottles worth.

Very yummy and we no longer help Bundaberg gingerbeer shares! :)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Bedroom floor

I am a busy person doing lots of
projects at any one time. I spend quite a bit of time after school/ during evenings sitting on my bed. Our room gets a lot of sun all day long from different directions.
On Friday I looked at my bedroom floor on my side of the bed and just cracked up. So much in that I actually took a photo of the mess!
How on earth can one person make this mess? I had sock knitting, new
wool, half written letters, mail to answer, the new "Mollie Makes Christmas" book (oooooh divine!), cross stitch , Christmas ornaments bought the night before, my handbag, cables , camera, school notices etc etc!
It is a wonder I could even get out of bed with this mess! I obviously have a very understanding husband as he has to walk over it to get to his dressing table!
So I spent yesterday tidying it up! I have letters started weeks ago to finish , am so close to finishing the 2 nd sock of a pair, books stacked to read, craft to finish for Christmas swaps and tonight I have started knitting an adult sized kina for me! I will try not to
Let the pile of stuff build up again!

What does next to your bed look like?
Crickey - no mention of what is on the bedside table there either - that is a mess too!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

How one sews in summer

A gorgeous day weather wise today.
I spent the morning sewing with a group of women. A great time and I am well on my way with Christmas gifts and swap gifts.
I came home and carried on sewing - what a fantastic setting to see in!
Off to a decent wool shop tomorrow - I am starting an adult kina.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

9 years old

Happy birthday to our 9 year old! What a crazy, full on confident child we have. Right from day one - boom! This child knows what he wants and will get it and do what he wants! A kid with spunk and such a strong willed personality, most people do not know what hit them.
I think he has given his school a few lessons - he won't conform and never will - as long as you know that, you will be fine! Be fair with him - he will tolerate boundaries and he will be fair
and caring back!
Would be nice to go to bed earlier, but he has not gone to sleep before 9pm since he was 4..... He listens and listens to books on cd at night time.
A fab kid! Happy birthday!

Some of my favourite ever photos of him! Crumpets bangles anyone ?
Milo out of the packet on the bench?
Eggs though the fridge?
Muesli on the floor?
(a real tactile kinesthetic learner this one!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sewing hats

This Christmas I am going low-key with gifts. I hate spending hours walking around shops and figuring out what to buy for people, so I decided to make hats for a few people. We do not spend a lot of money on our immediate family and on my side we only buy for children now. In Stephen's family, we draw one name and buy that person one $50 gift and that is it! We usually do ask them want they want.

So I am sewing hats - i have made 3 already today and am thrilled with how they have turned out! Not the best photo of me though!

I also did some shopping for several swaps I am taking part in - I love making little things and doing swaps with people from around the world. My swaps this year are in USA, Australia (2) and NZ. It is fab to have found a NZ swap too!

Now only to decide what to get my own children for Christmas. The soccer mad one is easy- the other 2 not so easy!

Are you doing any swaps this year?
How do you decide family Christmas present buying?