Monday, January 30, 2012

DIY Wedding Flower Garland

This flower garland are perfect as an inexpensive way to decorate your wedding. This great tutorial is from Once Wed and will teach you step-by-step to create this beautiful flower garland…

What You’ll Need
One Bunch “Million Star” Gypsophilia (AKA Baby’s Breath) Generally, a bunch is 10-12 stems, with multiple laterals on each stem) 
One Spool Fabric Coated Wire 
Decorative Paper (3 or so co-ordinating sheets) 
A Sheet of Card Stock 
Floral Snips 
Small Hole Punch 


Before you get started on the garland, unwrap your bunch of Gypsophelia, trim the stems and place in warm water. Allow the flowers to drink for a couple of hours before proceeding.
How to
1. Take your floral clippers, and trim all of the flower tufts off the end of the sprays, leaving just a little stem. 
2. Cut a 7 foot length of fabric coated wire. Twist the end of the wire to make a little loop at the end. 
3. Take a tuft of Baby’s Breath, and lay it on your support wire, just past the loop. Pick up your wire spool, and wrap the wire around the flower stem and support wire.
4. Add another tuft, this time to the back side of the wire, and wrap again. 
5. Keep adding the flower tufts, alternating front and back, and work your way down the wire.
6. When you reach the end of the wire, cut the spool away and wrap the wire around the garland end several times to secure. Make a loop on the end with your support wire. Trim your flower stems to make the end of the garland tidy. To keep your garland fresh, coil it up, mist it lightly with water, and place it inside a plastic garbage bag. Put it in your refrigerator, or in the coolest spot available. It should stay fresh for 24-48 hours depending where you keep it. 
7. Cut out a bird shape on a sheet of card stock. Cut out the birds, and trace them onto your decorative paper. (10 pairs for a six foot garland was used)
8. Cut all of your birds out, and punch a small hole in the middle of each bird’s back. 
9. Cut a length of string about 14 inches long, and tie a bird to each end. 
10. Hang your garland from the wire loop ends and hang your birds over the garland, spacing them evenly apart. 

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Gorgeous Gift Tags

Write your guests a little note of appreciation on these hand-punched round gift tags from Martha Stewart

How to
1. Print design on cover-weight paper. (Get the Gift Tag Clip Art)
2. Punch out circles using a 2.5" circle craft punch, positioning craft punch upside down so you can see the design through the hole as you punch; each tag should have some white space for writing.
3. Punch a hole in the top of the tag using a 1/8" circle punch.
4. Thread ribbon through hole and attach to favor box.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lamington Roll

Celebrate Australia Day with this national culinary tradition!
Ingredients (serves 6)  
3 eggs
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
2/3 cup (100g) self-raising flour
1 tbs cornflour
Desiccated coconut, to sprinkle
1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
1 tbs icing sugar mixture
1/4 cup (90g) raspberry jam
1 1/2 cups (100g) shredded coconut  

Chocolate icing
1 1/2 cups (230g) icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
20g butter
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a 25x30cm swiss roll pan with baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
2. Use an electric mixer to whisk eggs until thick and pale. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue whisking until sugar dissolves. Sift flour and cornflour over egg mixture and gently fold until just combined. Pour into prepared pan; smooth surface. Bake for 10 minutes or until sponge is dry to the touch. Place a sheet of baking paper on a clean surface; sprinkle with a little desiccated coconut. Turn hot cake out onto paper. Remove lining; gently roll up sponge from one short end. Roll in a clean tea towel and set aside to cool completely.
3. Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream and icing sugar mixture together until firm peaks form.
4. Unwrap the sponge and spread evenly with jam. Top with the cream, leaving a 3cm border. Re-roll sponge, using the paper as a guide, to enclose the filling. Place on a wire rack over an oven tray.
5. To make the chocolate icing, combine the icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk in a heatproof bowl. Place over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water and stir for 3-4 minutes or until icing is smooth and runny. Remove from heat and carefully spoon evenly over the sponge roll. Place the coconut on a large tray. Roll the sponge into the coconut to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes to set. Cut into slices to serve. 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How To Make Organic Pesticide

Keep your garden green the organic way with Homelife's organic pesticide. This solution is effective against aphids and other soft-bodied insects and can be used on all plants, including fruit trees, vegetable plants and herbs. The soap flakes help the mixture stick to the plants, so ensure you rinse your fruit, vegies and herbs well before eating.   

What you will need
8-10 red chillies, finely sliced
1 tbs soap flakes
1L boiled water
Atomiser/spray bottle
Chopping board
Plastic gloves
Sterile jug or jar (1L capacity)
Lid or plastic wrap to cover
Permanent marker or label  

How to
1. Chop chillies and include seeds - wearing gloves will protect your hands and others you may come into contact with. Avoid rubbing eyes!
2. Combine ingredients in a jug or jar (stir with knife), cover and set aside for 24 hours.
3. Strain and pour into a atomiser or spray bottle. Clearly label bottle with the contents and warning! 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Decorate with Vintage Doilies

Country Living has shown us how to transform vintage lace dollies into beautiful home décor…
Remove the original fabric from the lamp shade, leaving only the frame. Pin small doilies around the top and then to one another for a skirtlike effect. Remove the pinned doilies and machine-stitch together. Slip back over the frame and hand-stitch around the frame's top. 
To shape a basket soak a doily in liquid starch, squeeze out excess and place doily over an inverted glass bowl covered in waxed paper. Dry  for one to three days, depending on humidity.
Hand-stitch a doily to the front of a cushion cover. For the curtains, stitch doilies of varying sizes along the hemline, building a pleasing pattern.

Create a dazzling table runner with doilies. Machine-stitch them together and drape over a wood table where they can be admired.
Tightly wrap a doily around a vase. Snip away any excess, then hand-stitch the doily securely in place to create a snug fit.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Australia Day Recipes

Celebrate Australia day with some of these classic dishes from past as well as a few twists on old favourites…


Ingredients (serves 4)
4 beef and cracked peppercorn sausages
4 bacon rashes, halved
4 eggs
1 loaf Turkish bread
40g baby spinach leaves
Barbecue sauce, to serve  

1. Preheat a barbecue plate and grill on medium-high. Cook sausages on barbecue plate, turning frequently, for 12 minutes or until just cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, place a disposable foil tray on the barbecue grill. Add the bacon to tray and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat and cover with foil to keep warm.
3. Cut the sausages in half lengthways and cook, cut-side down, on grill for 2 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to the foil tray to keep warm.
4. Break eggs onto barbecue plate and cook for 5 minutes or until just cooked and yolks are still a little runny.
5. Meanwhile, cut the Turkish bread crossways into 4 equal portions, then split each portion in half. Cook on barbecue grill for 1 minute each side or until toasted.
6. Place 1 piece of bread, cut-side up, on each plate. Top with spinach, bacon, sausage and egg. Top with remaining bread. Serve immediately with barbecue sauce.

Ingredients (makes 4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
500g lean beef mince
1 tablespoon cornflour
3/4 cup beef stock
3/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon Vegemite
2 sheets frozen, ready-rolled shortcrust pastry, thawed
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Add mince. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, or until browned.
2. Mix cornflour and 1 tablespoon of stock to form a paste. Add remaining stock. Add stock, sauces and Vegemite to mince. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 8 minutes or until thick. Cool.
3. Preheat oven to 220°C. Place a baking tray into oven. Grease 4 x 8cm base measurement pie pans.
4. Cut 4 x 15cm circles from shortcrust pastry. Use to line bases and sides of pans. Fill with mince. Brush rims with water. Cut 4 x 15cm circles from puff pastry. Place over meat. Press to seal. Trim. Brush with egg. Season.
5. Place pies onto hot tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Serve.


Ingredients (serves 4)
400g lamb mince
125g can corn kernels, drained
125g rindless bacon, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
potato wedges, caramelised onion, chopped chives and tomato sauce, to serve
1. Combine mince, corn, bacon, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, chives, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using clean hands, shape mixture into four 2cm-thick rissoles. Place on a plate.
2. Cook rissoles, in a large frying pan sprayed with oil, over medium-high heat, for 3 to 5 minutes each side or until cooked through.
3. Serve with potato wedges, onion, chives and tomato sauce.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

A Simple Shelf

A simple shelf with innovative style can change the look and feel of your rooms. If your entryway is too narrow for a table or bench, hang a slim shelf instead. Better Homes & Gardens have transformed sleek metal brackets with a rustic antique floorboard. Installing basic brackets and shelves is easy…

What You Need
Electronic stud finder
Tape measure
Wall anchors (if needed)

How To
1. Begin by finding the location of the studs in your walls. Studs are generally placed 16 or 24 inches apart, measuring from center to center. With that in mind, once you've located one stud, finding the others is easy.
2. Roll stud finder over the wall; when its light blinks green, it has located a stud. Mark that location for your first bracket. It's important to drill directly into the center of a stud.
3. Measure out 3/4 inch from your center mark and draw vertical lines to represent the edges of the stud. You can add an X to make the center mark more visible.
4. Use the stud finder again to find the locations of the remaining studs and mark for your shelf brackets. Remember, their locations will be either 16 or 24 inches from the center mark of your first stud.
5. To align the marks (and the brackets) so they are straight and level, use a 4-foot level or laser-line level. Mark a horizontal line directly through the second and third fastener locations.
6. Drill brackets to wall studs using screws or wall anchors appropriate to the weight of your board, its contents, and the type of walls (plaster or drywall). Not sure which to use? Ask your hardware store for assistance. The brackets come with holes in their backs for you to drill the screw through.
7. Place board atop brackets. To fasten the board to brackets, drill screws up into the board through holes in the shelf bracket's top. If your wood is dense, first drill pilot holes to accept the screw more easily.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Tea Party Bridal Shower

We came across these great ideas for a tea party themed bridal shower on Martha Stewart. Arrange an assortment of tea sandwiches and sweets on cake stands and pretty platters, and serve with pots of different kinds of tea. For place cards at the table, remove the tags from tea bags, replace them with small handwritten name tags, and put a tea bag in an empty cup at each guest's place. Ask each guest to bring a vintage tea cup and saucer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weddingstar Cake Toppers

Cake toppers add a distinctively personal touch to your wedding cake. They make lovely keepsakes that can even be handed down to the next generation. Weddingstar have a great range of cake toppers that you can simply add to your wedding cake. Here are some of our favourites…

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken Burgers With Avocado Salsa


Brighten up the day with this healthy chicken burger topped with a colourful salsa.   

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 (500g) chicken breast fillets
2 teaspoons Alfa One rice bran oil
1 teaspoon Portuguese chicken seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 medium avocado, diced
125g can corn kernels, drained
1 small red capsicum, diced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 wholemeal bread rolls, split, toasted
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 cup mixed salad leaves

1. Slice each chicken breast in half lengthways. Place chicken between 2 sheets of baking paper. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound chicken until 1cm thick. Place oil, seasoning, oregano and garlic in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add chicken. Toss to coat. Cover. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Place avocado, corn, capsicum and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss gently to combine. Cover. Set aside.
3. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in 2 batches, for 3 to 4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
4. Spread the base of each bread roll with mayonnaise. Top with salad leaves, chicken breast and avocado mixture. Top with roll tops. Serve. 

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Monday, January 16, 2012

How To Re-cover Outdoor Chairs

Are your outdoor chairs looking a bit drab after winter? Well Home Life have have given us this easy tutorial to give your outdoor chairs a fresh new look for summer.

What you will need
Sugar soap
Outdoor paint
Small paintbrush
Wadding (if desired)
Sewing machine
Staple gun

How to
1. Prepare for paint – Before you start painting, it's best to make sure the chairs are clean, especially if they've had a hard life outside. Remove the covers from the chairs. Dilute some sugar soap with water in a bucket and use a sponge to wash the frames thoroughly. Allow the chairs to dry for a day or two, to ensure the timber is completely dry. Put some old newspaper under the chairs on a flat surface and give them a light sand. Make sure you sand all surfaces as the wood fibres will be damaged from exposure to the weather. Undercoat the chairs, allow to dry and then lightly sand again. This should bind all wood fibres together and make splinters less likely. Brush off any dust. Paint the chairs, allowing them to dry completely between coats. It's best to follow the instructions on the paint tin.

2. Prepare the fabric and pattern – Wash the new fabric before you start cutting it. This will minimise shrinkage later when you take the finished covers off to clean them. Use the old chair covers as a pattern. Cut around them, adding a couple of centimetres to allow for the seam. To make the covers stronger and longer lasting, double the fabric. If you want added comfort you can slide a little wadding between the fabric before you start stitching. Sew around all edges, following the patterns of the existing covers. If you have added wadding it's best to sew a few cross-sections to keep the foam in place. Fit the new covers on the freshly painted and dry chair frames.

3. Staple – You can use a craft staple gun to attach the new seat covers to the chair and stool frames. Just attach one side first, then pull it tight and repeat on the other side. You can always cover the staples with ribbon, if desired. 

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