Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anything Can Happen Friday!! Be Design Solutions

In keeping with the Father's Day theme on the blog this week I chose this week's maker because of the awesome offering she has for Father's Day!! I found Karen of Be Design through the Made It site, which if you haven't visited previously is like the Australian Etsy. Karen has some awesome products in her store including this printable Father's Day pack, which comes in handy on those occasions when you realise that Father's Day is on this Sunday!!! and you haven't got anything for Dad yet!! oops.....

The other great thing about Karen is that she is extremely passionate about what she does, something that emanates from the way she has answered my questions :)

How did you come about the business of 'making'?
Well I have always been a creative person, and for a long time I have had a keen interest in graphics, design and layout.  My previous job working with a photographer enabled me to develop my software skills and I kind of just moved into the field from there. Little jobs turned into bigger commissions and I learned along the way. Earlier this year I took the final leap and got some more formal training and officially launched my little business - and here I am - and LOVING it!

Who is your biggest supporter? 
I am incredibly lucky to have a team behind me - some very special friends and my dear family who have encouraged me so much. But my husband really has been my biggest support (he has bolstered my confidence when I have needed it most - and had to put up with my endless  "so what do you think of this idea…." type questions!!!)

Where do you see your 'making' taking you (in an optimistic world)?

I have a few new ranges I want to develop (like wedding stationery) so in the short term I would like to achieve that.
In the longer term I see myself working close to full time (as my kids get older), being financially successful (would be lying if I didn't say that!),  being known and respected by others for my work, and most importantly, continuing to love what I do.

Where can we get your stuff? 

FacebookPinterestMadeit Store, my Website and perhaps Etsy soon (when I get time!)

If you could be any animal in the world what would it be?
Oh this question ignited some fun conversation with my kids! I have always loved the idea of being able to fly so was tempted to answer a bird, but you know what. I think I would like to be a dog. Dogs just always seem so happy :)

Thanks so much to Karen for generously taking the time to answer my questions and provide the pictures for me to use!! You might have noticed she has other printables available in store as well - in this post I featured the Lucy and one of the Father's Day kits she has on offer.

On a side note for the locals are you attending this month's Olive Tree Market?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thursday. Memories

Today's DIY is a do-it-yourself memory because really what Dad wants is to spend some quality time with his offspring!

Which is something I did last night while on the phone to my dear ole pa, we were both pretty tired so our decision making skills were pretty impaired  (he kept sending baby photos of my sisters, not me) but somehow we managed to put together these pictures of my childhood.

There are several things I remember about my Dad when I was growing up, including the stories he read us every night as children. My favourite was Koala Lou, I can still to this day, recite the story. Another activity that I remember well was going to the park and Dad pushing us on the swings SO SO SO SO high it was the best. When he worked at the supermarket early in the morning he would take us along to ride on the scrubbing machine. We might not have had much when we were young but Mum and Dad did a pretty damn good job of making us feel loved and special. Like the craft kit my Mum made for me one birthday out of an old mango tray, with gum nuts and pipe cleaners, glitter, glue and all sorts of random goodies.

I think looking back and now in my present situation it really makes you realise how limiting yourself promotes amazing creativity and I have my Dad to thank for encouraging that creativity. All those times when I have said hey I think I want to be a film director, architect, fashion designer, journalist, pilot, super secret agent spy, my Dad has always given me words of encouragement. He has supported me emotionally and sometimes financially and without him this blog probably would have languished. He was my first follower and the first to comment and the first man in my heart (sorry Joel it's a super close second) and I can't wait to have children so they too can have him around to read stories to, to fall asleep on the lounge and have make-up drawn on, to have pillow fights and most of all to encourage them to pursue their dreams.

So happy Father's Day Dad (for Sunday) I might not be able to spend the day with you but I am looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks time, so we can laugh about stupid things, drink red wine together and talk about when you are going to finish that book on procrastination : p
You are pretty much the awesomest Dad around and I feel SO lucky to have you

Love your little baby girl
Emma xx


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wednesday. Father's Day Badge

The most awesome thing about crafting is that you can use pretty much anything you have in the house to make something cool! That is what I am doing today, making a special badge for Father's Day and the good news is you can too!!

It's as simple as taking plastic plates, some paper, scissors and some glue and whacking them together.

I used the blue plates leftover from Joel's birthday (1,2,3,4 and 5) and I always have a stash of random paper on hand, Officeworks is awesome for that kind of thing.

Basically just use ANYTHING you have in the house, this one is great for kids or kids at heart :)

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

On the Table. Father's Day Work Lunch

My parents own a business and happen to live behind the shop front, so unlike a regular packed lunch or bought lunch they are lucky enough to be able to just duck out the back and grab whatever it is they feel like.  When I visit I usually help them out in the shop because they are super duper busy and that's the best way I can spend time with them. Sometimes this includes delivering Dad's meal of the day - breakfast, lunch etc all rolled into one and served at around 3pm in the afternoon.

But for Dad's who don't get to come home here is a little snack for them to eat at work, and I think it is even simple enough that the kids could help!!

I had originally intended on using blueberries and apple to make some cute lattice pies but strawberries were on special so I grabbed those instead :)

Basically take one quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry (I make mine from scratch using a Donna Hay recipe), cut some shapes (or use a pie dish) and add your fruit filling, bake and enjoy!!

As always I will put more pictures on my Facebook page :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Monday. Father's Day Card DIY

Yay!!! I feel like it has been forever since we have had a DIY week on the blog!! In this part of the world Father's Day falls on the first Sunday of September so I have cooked up a few different bits and bobs to make celebrating 'Dads' super awesome.

Starting with this ridiculously cool card I made for my very own Dad!

It won't actually reach him by the time this post goes live so Dad just act surprised ;)

My Dad is pretty damn cool, he plays the guitar like a boss and always makes me laugh with the funny things he does. I like to think we are super close and one of the things he has got me hooked on (along with a good glass of red) is Doctor Who. It's ridiculously addictive and the eleventh doctor makes bow ties look good hence the decision to whack an origami bow tie onto a Doctor Who themed 'keep calm' poster.

How exactly did I do it and how can you make your own 'keep calm' bow tie card? read on

1. Take an A4 piece of paper and fold it in thirds
2. Cut out your thirds (this will make 3 bow ties - enough for Dad, Grandpa etc)
3. Fold your piece of paper in half
4. Open out the paper and fold the corners into the centreline
5. Fold the sides into the centreline
6. Fold your paper in half to make a crease

7. You are now going to make a 'waterbomb base' (sometimes this step can be tricky so I took plenty of pictures) make diagonal folds by folding up as shown with centre crease meeting the centre fold
8. Repeat on opposite side and unfold
9. Fold that centre crease into the middle
10. The two sides folded together will look like this lain flat
11. Fold the flap back where the top makes a small triangle
12. Flip and repeat on other side

13. Now fold the two bottom corners into the centre fold being especially careful (the full paper might make it a bit difficult)
14. Take the two flaps and open very gently, you will see a square form in the middle
15. Push the square flat if necessary et voila!

You might notice that the ends of the bow tie come to a point you can leave as is or simply fold them behind to give a more traditional shape.

The bow tie is now ready to be stuck onto your card (or used as a gift bow) to make a 'keep calm' style poster you can head to this site here. It's this simple.

I simply omitted the logo at the top so that I would have room for the bow tie. Don't forget to upload your finished card onto my Facebook page here. I would love to see them :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Anything Can Happen Friday! The Wedding Designer

So by now you have probably heard me mentioning The Wedding Designer, Jessica Coleman if you haven't you must have been living under a rock!! So I thought it was about time she made it onto my little Friday feature :)

If you have indeed been living under a rock and have no idea who I am talking about get ready to be blown away! I have been helping Jess out for about a month now beginning with that crazy week that was Edition 11 of 'Your Hunter Valley Wedding Planner' and this week with the little pop-up shop in her studio (which folks might just become a regular thing). But in this case more than ever pictures paint a thousand words and Jess is oh so good at what she does.

Thierry Boudan Photography 

Give me your elevator pitch. (What products/services do you offer?)
We are for the DIY Bride! From prop hire to the full design service.

Thierry Boudan Photography
How did your venture come about?
I saw a huge gaping hole in the market especially after designing my own wedding from across the country!

Who is your biggest supporter?
my Husband :)

Thierry Boudan Photography
In an optimistic world where do you see your business going in the future?
I would be just happy for it to keep going for a very long time :) its my passion and i get a lot of joy out out being so helpful to brides!

How can we find you? - Facebook and our website - and - I also took the liberty of starting Jess up with a Pinterest account here and we are still trying to teach her the ins and outs of tweeting @tweddingd

Thierry Boudan Photography
 If you could be any animal in the world what would it be?
I think horses are pretty amazing - anything free and adventurous!

Thierry Boudan Photography
All these photos were part of the styled shoot Jess and her equally awesome and super nice partner Lane recently did at Stanley Park, all photos are by Thierry Boudan Photography and all props and styling were done by Jess and Lane.

For more of her styling goodness you can always pop by the studio at 31 Throsby St Wickham to see what we are all working on - it's bound to be super cool ;)  just putting it out there

Next week on the blog we are getting geared up for Father's Day!! A DIY bow tie card, I am feeling some kind of blueberry goodness coming on for Tuesday, 5 awesome activities I used to (still do) with my Dad and much more

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We had an awesome day yesterday in the studio!! So many popped in to say hi that we might even keep the door up on a regular basis!!

We are expecting a 27 degree day here in Newy so why not come say hi and grab a bunch of fresh flowers for the house and then test the waters at the beach!!!

Don't forget to pop into Dark Horse Espresso for your morning fix while you are at it and Inner City Winemakers are just around the corner as well ;)

In the meantime get pumped for next week's Father's Day crafting week!! Lots of cool things to do with Dads and Kids :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Today is the first day with the studio doors thrown open and all our lovely products available for you to purchase!! I hope to see some readers in over the next few days along with some new 'likers' of Stepford :)

But also on my plate at the moment is the planning of my dear ole Dad's 60th Birthday!! We will be holding it in Sydney over the Australia Day long weekend and have now decided a picnic in the park would be a really lovely way to do it. This had me casting my mind back to our little wedding picnic area...

and as you can see things really come together well when everyone gets involved!! Maybe we can recreate something special like this for the day....

Monday, August 20, 2012

On the Table. Caramelised Onion Relish

If you happened to see any pictures of our wedding you might have noticed that we love cheese so sometimes we like to keep things simple and have cheese for dinner. They are the best nights and a ploughman's lunch is my absolute favourite way of eating cheese. This time round though I made use of the purple onions in the fridge to make a yummy caramelised onion relish.

When I make something whether it be a cake, biscuit, relish, pasta etc I always head first to Tastespotting and then Google gathering together the recipes and looking at similarities and differences then picking the one that fits what I have in the cupboard or sounds the most practical.

For this relish I picked a base then half way through realised I had been using a 1/2 cup measure for everything not the one specified and I don't think it really made much of a difference.

So if you want to make your own super yummy relish take these ingredients; Purple onion, olive oil, mustard seeds, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and make it to taste.

The only really important thing (I think) is to make sure you don't stinge on cooking time, cook the onions in the olive oil until most of the colour is zapped out of them.

Also make sure you use OLIVE OIL, I remember making it with butter once before and it just didn't cut it.

And remember it gets better with age, but not too long :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A little Monday extra!

I know two posts in one day!! some weeks are like this for me but that's what happens when lots of exciting stuff is in the works!!!

I mentioned last Thursday about my daily routine and this morning as I went through my regular feeds I happened upon August Empress again. If you haven't looked at her site before it is a wonder of beautifully curated goodness and you should head over there NOW. She has lovely articles about good blog design and other interesting tid bits like her dining table re-design (which I am in LOVE with).

But she is also having a giveaway. And not just any giveaway but one to her 'Your Darling Blog Workshop'. I know I just gave the blog a little bit of a revamp but folks I am an amateur at this and as if I want Stepford to grow I am going to need all the help I can get!! :)

So Jo this is what I have to say to convince you:

I will be your #1 student!!! I promise!! :)

Monday. Pop-Up Shop

I am back from the weekend that flew so fast!!! So remember my wishes from last week for a job and a new car well one of those babies got answered!!

Joel came home with a new car for me!! WOO HOO!!! It is not currently registered but is the newest car we have collectively owned and has air con!!! This is a biggie for us though our cars have all had air con, they haven't actually had working air con.....

And on the job front well if you count working for yourself a job..... I am pleased to announce that this week I will be peddling my wares along with some pretty dresses from Floral and Spot at the Wedding Designer's studio in Wickham!!!!

Jess also has some great pieces by Steptoe Antiques for sale so if you are in Wickham or even Newcastle come pop in and take a look during business hours.

Can't wait to see you locals!! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Anything Can Happen Friday. Floral and Spot

If you have ever visited The Wedding Designer's studio in Wickham you will of course be overcome with all the vintage-y goodness but you might notice as I did the lovely rack of dresses by the front door. Or perhaps you were at the recent Olive Tree Markets and found a little stall full of wonderful dresses. Or did you find her work at Emma Soup? Where ever it was I am sure you will remember the work of the lovely Raylee Allen the woman behind label Floral and Spot.

How did you come about the business of 'making'
Just come from a need of not really finding anything unique that I liked and simple, timeless designs..

Who is your biggest supporter?
I have a few supporters...My boyfriend is a big fan, if only he would wear good friend Johanne Jones who keeps me sane and also is a great babysitter...

Where do you see your 'making' taking you (in an optimistic world)?
Would love to be able to have a shop of my own where people can come in and learn about fabric and just chill with a coffee..Oh and of course be famous and make lots of money....

Where can we get your stuff?
My clothing is available at The Olive Tree Markets every month. Also sold in Emma Soup store in Hunter Street, my facebook page floral and spot designs.....I also do other markets around Newcastle, Central Coast and in Wine country.

 If you could be any animal in the world what would it be?
Hhhmmm...I love Hippos?? Dont really know why, they have cute small ears and seem to not be to bothered by to much..but then they are also feared...and the babies are so super cute..

So you sold? A huge thanks to Raylee for taking the time to answer my questions she really is a lovely lady and those dresses... so super cute!! keep an eye out for them in the Edition 11 of 'Your Hunter Valley Wedding Planner' we shot a cute little lace number ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


My daily routine goes a little something like this; 

wake up at 7am. check my phone for new emails/facebook/twitter/instagram and my current words with friends game (btw I am stuck at the moment!!! but I will find a word Soph!!) 

make myself and my honey a cup of tea or if needed coffee (I am trying not to drink so much of it), sometimes I make him some lunch to take to work 

take tea/coffee or this morning hot chocolate to my computer and log onto Blogger or Bloglovin (or both) and catch up on new posts by other bloggers.

My daily reads are Green Wedding Shoes, 100 Layer Cake, Design*Sponge and The Design Files but I also like to follow some local bloggers including The Novocastrian Files (changing hosts at the moment), Oh How Very Lovely, Something Gorgeous, The Olive Tree Market Blog, Pink Patent Mary Janes, Howdy Stranger and one very special one Scandi Coast Home

I first came across Scandi Coast Home through Something Gorgeous and was blown away by her amazing home, great pictures, clean site and original content 

Her home was also just recently featured on another lifestyle blog Desire Empire you can check it out here

In the meantime there are a few things of hers that I am coveting....

And I'll take her wicked pepper grinder too :)

So who thinks it would be an awesome idea to hold a 'blog-castle' much like the 'blog'nhagen' hosted by House That Lars Built? I sure do  

ps if I have left anyone off the list I do apologise :/ pps if you know of any other great Newcastle blogs let me know ;)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Have you stopped by the Facebook page and checked out all the awesome pictures from the market on the weekend? Wondering what we did for the backdrop for the pictures? Well my amazing sister Zoe (Photographer on the day) purchased an awesome backdrop and stand as an early bday present for me :)

It consists of two tripod type bases and a series of interconnecting poles through which you thread the backdrop. Sounds complex but it's super simple and with the handy carry bag means I can set up a shot anywhere I want!! (ahem my tiny apartment)

Which is exactly what I have done :)

So admittedly some ironing here and there wouldn't have gone astray but I am looking forward to the endless possibilities it will present me with! HINT: Father's Day is fast approaching

You can find details for all the things in the pictures on my Facebook page and while you are there have a bit of a browse and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 13, 2012

On the Table. Scrolls

So I have ANOTHER bag of apples that needs using (seriously will I ever learn??) but fear not this post does not contain a recipe for something with apples!! However you could put them in if you want ;) this post is all about the yummy goodness of sweet sweet bread in the form of Brown Sugar Walnut Scrolls.

I have made a lot of bread in my time but none of it has been sweet to date (actually scrap that remember the failed hot cross buns of Easter) and I am still yet to perfect it. These scrolls were really really good, though I don't think I let the dough rise quite enough. I used a simple recipe from Taste but made up my own filling, because I like the kind of recipes that don't require a fully stocked pantry and instead allow you to make the best of what you have! Like green apples for instance!

Next time I really want to try this recipe here from Chez Us :) why didn't I this time? because it requires pre-prep ....

But what did I do for the filling? I brushed melted butter onto the flattened dough, laid down a heavy sprinkling of brown sugar and then added crushed walnuts to the mix YUM

What do you think I should make next Tuesday? Leave a comment below or pop on over to my Facebook page and let me know there :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Monday. I survived.

If you follow me on Facebook you will know that I have indeed survived my very first market day at the Cherry Blossom Markets!! We braved the 45-65kmph winds and rain and luckily secured an inside spot to set up! I was no where near the level of organisation I would have liked but luckily the bad weather lessened the very steep learning curve. Next time I will know better.

Today I am doing some very much needed catchup on my uni work along with a bit of a job search (to the job gods something in visual merchandising pretty please, or retail, or banking...) I would LOVE to do this crafting/blogging business full-time (even just helping another crafter out!!) but right now lack of funds is severely limiting my ability to grow this little venture and I REALLY need a car (to the car gods an automatic with lots of room would be fantastic!!!)   

But let's get the begging out of the way and show you the good stuff the pictures we took on the weekend!!

For more pictures including those we took in our 'photo booth' head on over to my Facebook page here :)

I am still trying to work out reasonable pricing on my items so let me know if there is something you like but aren't sure about :) also if you like something but it's not the style or colour that you like feel free to email me or leave a comment on Facebook and I will see what I can do!

A big thanks to Jess of The Wedding Designer for lending me all the props and things I used to make the stall super awesome and Kendall of Sweet Project for coming up with those awesome biscuits!!!

Thanks to Joel for grabbing me some change for my float and helping us pack and unpack the car, and drilling holes for the signs, my awesome friends for stopping by, my family for all their help and well wishes!! and the HUGEST thanks of all goes to my big sister Zoe for driving 4 hours to come and take the pics, drive me around and sew all the wonderful kites! YOU ARE SO AMAZING!!! LIKE SERIOUSLY :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday. As per usual

I hope that future employees, clients etc do not happen to peruse my blog on a sporadic basis (or when anything truly interesting is happening in my life) because if they did they probably would not come away with a good opinion of me.

Why? Just keep reading.

I am doing the markets this weekend, yep this very Saturday occurring but 2 days from now (today doesn't count it's pretty much over), I don't know whether I am just FREAKING out because I am a market virgin and have NO IDEA what to expect or if I really do have things under control. I think the answer might be a combination - I am definitely freaking out, my sister and I had a conversation today about how our family is full of chronic procrastinators and whether this is in fact linked to fear of failure rather than laziness..... what if people don't like the way I do things!!! crafting can be a pretty personal business, will I be able to handle criticism/rejection?? and also I have some things under control, but definitely not everything - I think I need to start small and work my way up rather than try and do a little of absolutely EVERY idea that comes to mind, otherwise I will have a whole lot of nothing in my stall on Saturday.

But let's look on the bright side, Pride and Prejudice (the good BBC one/actual book not the other silly one)   has been making it's way into my thought process with random lines just popping into my head at dull moments (strange considering I have read Persuasion WAY more times) and I did get some new business cards printed from Vistaprint.

Monday, August 6, 2012

On the Table. Icing.

Do you remember the cupcakes and macarons I made last week? (sidenote: it seems I got it wrong last time for more on macaron v. macaroon see here) Well it turns out they were so damn good that they spurned a cake share craze at Joel's work and now everyone brings in cakes and sweets to share!! Nuts hey? well anyway apparently it was our turn again so Joel had me baking in the wee hours of Saturday morn before I headed off to the Olive Tree Markets.

After a request for a 'manly' cake (is there really such thing?) I disregarded advice and made a simple butter cake with strawberry icing. Sounds simple enough right, here's the real story.

I always make this particular butter cake using the recipe from Donna Hay's Classics Vol. 2 - my go to cookbook for baking (and pancakes) I did everything exactly the same as I normally do - let eggs go to room temp, grease tin well, pre-heat oven etc etc. But for some reason the cake decided to stick to the bottom of the pan grrrr and what came out were a few chunks here and there.

I pieced it back together as best as I could and iced right over it!

And guess what they said? it was amazing!! I love icing!!

How exactly did I make the icing? I don't usually use recipes for icing I just make it up - a couple of cups of icing sugar, some butter, a dash of milk and a few spoons of strawberry jam - SO TASTY!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Monday. DIY String Art Sign

I am one busy little beaver preparing for my first ever markets this weekend at the Cherry Blossom! But I thought I would share with you the string art sign I made last week for the markets to signal our little photo booth! There are already so very many string art DIYs out there including this one by Honey and Fitz, another by Man Made DIY and of course giant wedding blog Green Wedding Shoes but I will share with you my own not so perfect way of doing things (speaking of you should check out Craft Fail, for awesome 'nailed it' moments).

But first here is the finished product!

Pretty neat right? I am loving my new heart!! It took me ages to get around to doing it but SO glad I finally did!! Anyho get ready for instructions!!

1. Gather your supplies!! I used an offcut from the desk that Joel made himself earlier in the year (using laminated pineboard from Bunnings, it's very cheap) and a pack of 25x1.8mm nails (830 nails I used a LOT), also hammer and your words!!
2. Print out your letters and tape the sheet onto your bit of wood
3. Begin the arduous task of nailing AROUND the outside of your letters, be careful of your fingers!! I squashed mine a few times! I put them perhaps a little too close together (about 1/2cm) and could have whacked them in a little more but just do what feels right
4. This step might not have been so terrible if.... I don't know what - Take your paper out from between the nails, if you are super lucky it will come out straight up! if you are like me tweezers are a useful tool along with loads of patience
5. Now take some string/wool/embroidery floss and tie a knot around a nail - don't worry about leaving a tail you can bury it later - you can be as orderly or as chaotic as you want now!! Just wind the string/wool/floss around the nails until you are happy and tie another knot

ET VOILA!! awesome string art!!!

If you live local be sure to check out my stall on Saturday and if not I would love to hear your thoughts on what I have been making!!! you can find my most up to date stuff on my Facebook page here :)