Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anything Can Happen Friday. Fugu Fashion

Joining me on the metaphorical couch today is Jess from Fugu Fashion who kindly shot me an email after my call out on the Olive Tree Market Facebook page. Pronounced 'foo goo' Jess started her business of handcrafting purses and bags in 2007. But I'll let her tell you the rest :)

How did you come about the business of 'making'?
After I finished studying fashion design at Tafe, I decided that I wanted to start my own accessories label.

Who are your biggest supporters?
I would say my family are my biggest supporters. They always go to markets with me and help me set up and sell.

Where do you see your 'making' taking you (in an optimistic world)? 
I would love to be able to have my products in cute little boutique stores around Australia.

Where can we get your stuff?
Online at and the Olive Tree Market in Newcastle.

And if you could be any animal in the world what would you be? 
A fugu fish (but hopefully not one that would get eaten) they are such unique creatures and I am so fascinated by them.

so a big thanks to Jess and if you like what Jess does and want to keep up to date with her latest head on over to her Facebook page, her website or of course her store.

And remember if you are a crafter of any sort and would like to share your creations please don't hesitate to send me an email at I would love to hear from you :) Today I am heading out west and will be returning sometime mid-next week but hopefully I can still get my usual posts out!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thursday. ASOS Special Delivery!!

So while I was 'studying' I found myself on ASOS looking through their sale section (I swear they don't pay me I just really. love. ASOS.) and ended up making a few little purchases that I have been meaning to show you.....

So to break it down I got the Aran Jumper in Cream, Pleated Midi Skirt in Baby Blue and Colourblock Elastic Waist Belt in Orange. It cost me about $50 in total free shipping and they also offer 10% off for students though I forgot to apply it this time (dammit).

I've been practically living in the jumper it's super warm and versatile and though the neck might be a little high for me and my broad shoulders I am totally in love with it! Another great thing is the sizing which seems pretty spot on. The skirt is a little on the small side but nothing a bit of exercise can't fix and it was in the petite range.

I don't buy clothes very often anymore but have a feeling that ASOS and me are going to get along like a house on fire - they are also running a competition at the moment where you can win a $3,600 wardrobe so you should go enter it too :)  

If I'm feeling photogenic later I might just tweet a photo so if you aren't already, follow me @EmAtStepford ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wednesday and the Wonders of Baking Soda

Last week my face was a mess, I turn twenty-four this year but still get more pimples than a teenager. It sucks big time. I think it must be a combination of a lot of things; diet, hormones, sunlight?

I wanted to look a bit clearer and fresher last Friday for when we went to Sydney for The Block Live so I headed onto Pinterest and typed in 'DIY Beauty'. As always you get a whole lot of stuff when you search on Pinterest so I decided to give myself a face steam and DIY microdermabrasion (I think know I spelled that wrong, but I'm sure you've all seen the Lauren Conrad picture).

What are these complex sounding things you ask? well the first involves getting a bowl of steaming hot water putting some yummy things in there, putting your face over the top and chucking a towel over your head. The second grabbing some baking soda/bi-carb mixing it with a little water to form a paste and then using it as a scrub on your face.  

And though not instantaneously better, this week I can definitely see a difference in the clarity of my skin hence the title of this post.

Because baking soda is not just great as a face scrub. You can use it for all kinds of things! 
Apparently you can rub it on your teeth to make them whiter. And do you have a dirty microwave? I know I do, put some baking soda and water into a little bowl and mic it for 30 secs, makes cleaning it much much easier. Do you have smelly shoes? Put a thin layer of soda in there for a few days and then suck it all up, the soda takes the odour with it ;) 

What other cool things do you use baking soda for?

Monday, June 25, 2012

On the Table. Apple Pie Hearts

Whenever we go to the supermarket I am always tempted by the low granny smith prices into buying green apples, even though I am a strictly red apple kind of girl. So when life hands you apples, make apple pie.

But why just make apple pie when you have cute little heart cutters that need to be put into use, why not turn them into standalone apple pie hearts

Can there possibly be anything more satisfying than shortcrust pastry and sweet sweet apple? I think not

Go on take advantage of the chilly weather and in season apples and make some! super easy and super satisfying oh and can anyone say winter dessert table.......

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I have a typical case of Monday-itis today, everything is a little slow moving and I think I might just need to create myself a list so I can actually get some stuff done. I don't know about you but I NEED lists to keep my motivation up so on my list for today/this week is; book tickets home to my folks place, make and send a bday present for my awesome friend, start making super hero stuff for Joel's bday, keep my stock-pile of stuff growing, head out of the house for a few appointments, clean the house (it's disgusting), try and get on top of the washing (never gonna happen), make some apple pie, make some yummy treats for Joel to take to work, try and find a job of some sort, organise stuff for Christmas in July....... oh and organise a full week of posts for while I am away.... 

But in the meantime here is a snapshot of my weekend...

Joel will kill me for that picture, taken at Strathfield waiting for the train home, strawberries were only $2 a punnet this weekend, I made baby Bundts for friend's engagement party, said engaged friends holding the smashed piƱata I made. We had an awesome night congrats guys :) 

oh and tomorrow is going to look super tasty so get excited ;)  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Anything Can Happen Friday!!

This morning Joel and I are off to The Block Live Show in Sydney after winning tickets via Katrina From the Block so today I am leaving you to peruse the lovely wares of a fellow Emma, Emma from Little Owl Trinkets. After seeing Emma's stall at both the Olive Tree and Cherry Blossom markets I shot her off a message with a few questions.....

How did you come about the business of 'making'? 
Well, I have been 'making' since I can remember - with two professional artists in my family, it’s always been part of my life. I didn't start selling my creations until last year, when I had a chance meeting with another local Newcastle artist, Jo Dyer, who inspired me to follow my dream!

Who is your biggest supporter?
I think that would have to be a tie between my husband and my mum. My husband is incredibly supportive of my art; he even encouraged me to start working part time so I could pursue my art career. My mum is fantastic too! I have attended about 20 market stalls and she hasn't missed one yet!

Where do you see your 'making' taking you (in an optimistic world)? 
I dream of owning my own boutique shop, filled with beautiful art, jewellery, home wares and books. A place with a relaxing atmosphere, where people could bring a coffee and sit for a while, or watch me working on my next piece!

Where can we get your stuff? 
You can buy my work online at or visit me at the Olive Tree Markets, Art Bazaar Markets or Cherry Blossom Markets!

If you could be any animal in the world what would it be? 
An owl. Did you guess that already? I love owls, which may be a bit obvious from my work. I particularly love Barn Owls.

A big thank-you to Emma for taking the time to answer my questions and if you would like to keep up to date with her latest exploits head on over to her Facebook page here.

And if any other 'makers' would be interested in a feature please find details on my Facebook page in the about section here

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


This week I have been crafting like crazy a few little things for a friend's engagement party on the weekend along with doing a bit of branding for Stepford. I am not quite sure where I want this blog to take me but from all my reading and learning etc there is one thing that stays common - the importance of branding. So in effort to look a bit more professional and because I really do love mucking around on photoshop I came up with some interim business cards.

Be kind these are my first trial batch, my contact info is on the back of the card in the same font and when I eventually get round to carving (ahem getting Joel to carve) my heart onto a stamp I will be making some new ones. I decided my favourite one was the 3rd one in the second row, unfortunately it's a little hard to replicate with watercolour but for the moment they will do.

Now I am off to fix my Facebook page after reading this great post on Oh My! Handmade Goodness

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wednesday. Creating an Email Signature

One of the things on my extensive to-do list this week was to create myself an email signature.

It was an idea planted in my head as I was bouncing emails back and forth with Jasmine of Tinker Finca, she has a great, streamline, pretty email signature which made me think 'hey, I want one too'

And the good news is they are relatively simple to do! After 'googling' for a little while I stuck to my instincts and the very sparse HTML knowledge back from the MySpace days and had a go myself. I use Hotmail/Windows Live so I apologise if you are on Yahoo/Gmail/Outlook etc but from my understanding it's a pretty similar technique.

All in all it probably took me about 10 mins to do including signing up to Flickr, so it's worth giving a go to give emails a bit more of a streamline professional look. In saying that I am not 100% happy with mine so I may tweak it a little bit.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment below

Monday, June 18, 2012

On the Table Tuesday.

YAY!! Finished my exams!!! Not feeling to positive about their outcomes but finally can get down to some good ole crafting ;)

So I mentioned yesterday that Joel was in charge of the menu this week so last night we had pizza for dinner. Yep could it be any more of a 'man' dish. Though it was amazing and considering my exam finished at 8 totally quick and easy. There is probably a way of making pictures of pizza taken at night look appetising... but I am yet to find that way.....

But let me assure you it was an amazing pizza, I usually make our bases myself but we wanted a quick easy meal so grabbed some pita bread instead, mixed some tomato paste with garlic, chucked some mushrooms, ham, pepperoni and basil and a little cheese and voila!! super satisfying pizza in less than 10 mins!!

Oh and also just have to mention Joel and I won some tickets to the Block Live Show in Sydney this Friday - he is so excited

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Today I am undertaking my two final exams for the semester. Yep two in one day, barely an hour between them. One is likely to be super hard, I have been doing my best to avoid the demons of procrastination and study hard for it but I feel no amount of prep will be enough, the other I have passed already. Thank-god. Yes I am that dreaded breed, the whining uni student, we don't have to do much but we sure do like complaining about it. I guess the thing about final exams is you have 13 weeks of work all riding on one 2-3 hour exam. You stuff that exam up and you just put your name in the hat for another round. Not fun. Not cheap either.

So here is a quick pic demonstrating how I am feeling about it all.

Yep. Great Expectations.

On a side note if you are a Newcastle local or even just an occasional visitor to the area, you should take a look at this video. I for one think it's an awesome idea, so sign the petition, it takes two seconds and they are just 700 people away from hitting the golden 5,000.

Joel is in charge of the menu this fortnight so who knows what tomorrow's post will look like - apparently various sorts of 'burgers' will be his mainstay

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This Friday I have another local maker to share with you!! Rosie Ok.

If you haven't heard of Rosie before I will be surprised but I tracked her down on Etsy where she sells her awesome crochet bunnies and other cute colourful animals. Along with these cute soft toys she is super talented enough to spin her own yarn - yes that's right, along with making these great bunnies she also prepares all her own yarn and sells it!!! You can find it here if you are interested.

So did I also mention she was recently featured in issue 11 of Peppermint Magazine? If you follow the link here you can take a look and while you are at it you make your own mr bear or miss bunny.

You can find Rosie and her wonderful creations in a number of places; on Facebook, her blog, her Etsy shop here or locally on madeit here, you can also find a few items at Honeybee on Darby St (Newcastle) while your'e at it buy a bunny for me I am not usually one for soft toys but the colours just get me!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


So at the start of the week I promised I would show you my neat trick for turning regular jeans into skinnies, but I guess the question many might be asking is why I wouldn't just buy regular skinnies instead. Well I am poor, but also I have a big butt, it's huge and that means that low rise jeans are my mortal enemy - I personally think they are most people's enemies but particularly those with larger posteriors and generally most skinny jeans only come in low-rise. Which sucks.

So last week I bought myself a $20 pair of black mid-rise bootleg jeans and today I turned them into $20 black mid-rise skinnies...

What!! Is that really the same pair of jeans?? Why yes, yes it is and if you follow the steps below you can have awesome jeans too!!!

1. Look at your jeans, one seam will be top-stitched the other side will not be, on mine the non-top-stitched side was the outside seam - this is the side you will be taking in
2. Unpick the hem around the side you will be taking in - in my case I unpicked the hem around the outside seam
3. Put your jeans on and place a pin where you want to start taking them in - for me this was about mid-thigh
4. From that pin you will basically be trying to sew a straight line down to the hem - for these jeans this meant taking in as much as 5cm
5. Do one leg at a time and try on each time you sew a seam - taking in where necessary (because these jeans were bootleg I had to do more around the ankles)
6. Once you are happy with the fit cut off the excess and finish edges with a short-length zig-zag
7. Chances are your pants are going to need hemming as well - mark where you want them to sit, cut off excess and hem as usual (fold over twice and sew along the bottom)
8. Voila!! Awesome jeans!!

There are probably better, more professional ways to do this but for the moment this will do me fine :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


A few months before Joel and I were due to get married my sister called me up and said I've found the most amazing place and I think you should get married here. Unfortunately we were a little too far into our existing plans to even consider it but she still remains an avid supporter of the place and maybe even fantasises about living there....

What's the place? Iandra Castle. It's an old property smack bang in the central west inbetween Young, Cowra and Grenfell not far from Greenthorpe. She headed back there this weekend and managed to grab some pictures of the magnificent homestead which remains in excellent condition... in the middle of nowhere

The main house was built in 1880 and a second storey added in 1908 at that time owner George Henry Greene also built numerous other buildings including a stable which still lies on the property. The property is currently owned by a Mrs Margaret Morris and proceeds from open days provide funds to restore and maintain the place a huge job I would imagine.

I think next time Joel and I are out that way a visit is in order... I just love old buildings :)

Monday, June 11, 2012


On the table today... or rather a few weeks ago you might remember my yummy hubby's request for some awesome treats to take to work well that same week we also cooked up some double choc muffins!! Yes he was very lucky that week, not so lucky the following week but he carved it up that week :)

I didn't snap any pics of them out of the pan because it was late and they were tasty. You can find the recipe here, it is the first time I have used vegetable oil in muffins and Joel let me know that he could taste the vegetable oil so the hunt still continues for the perfect muffin recipe - apparently sour cream is the key but I am yet to try it.

I also visited Coco Monde on Darby St for the first time, the plates certainly photograph well but we left feeling very underwhelmed.
It did however get me thinking about giving the ole macaron another try, though I failed miserably the first time maybe a change in recipe is called for and of course the help of the piping master, I am really shocking at it. I bookmarked this recipe a long time ago maybe after the exams we will tackle it but for present back to the thrill of studying derivative securities.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


My two finals will take place this time next week!!! I am such a bad student Joel has been studying his little heart out and I have been..... procrastinating..... I started up a Twitter account, you can follow me by clicking the link in the sidebar ---> also ahem changed my side bar around switched things up hopefully making things a little easier to navigate.... sent out some emails to a few makers trying to round up someone to feature this coming Friday....

btw shoot up your hand and send me an email if you want this to be you!!!

also bought some new black jeans which I will be tailoring this week into skinnies - I'm going to show you how, spent Saturday evening watching this movie on SBS and discovering that my husband has a secret passion for Bollywood, attended the Cherry Blossom Markets, headed to Warner's Bay so Joel could pick up a new tool chest and attempted to make crazy Chocolate Caramel Self-Saucing Pudding in the June issue of Super Food Ideas only to find it not so A1 as we were expecting it to be, and last but not least got my Downton Abbey fix

and because pictures paint a thousand words I painted the top of my Ikea Bekvam Step Stool gray.

We got a sample pot of this colour ages ago to paint two lamps that are now long gone - I also painted a few picture frames with the same colour - I am not sure what it is called but it's a Dulux sample pot. All I know is that I LOVE it.

On a side note through the Olive Tree Market I discovered that States of Nature is holding a Blog Workshop in Newcastle on the 30th June, for the past couple of months I have been teaching myself how to use Photoshop but would love to attend this workshop unfortunately it's a little out of my unemployed wage range BUT should be considered by anyone bloggers or no - Photoshop is a super handy tool to have in your arsenal!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Anything Can Happen Friday

I seem to spend a lot of my time procrastinating and more often than not lately my procrastination has been happening over on Etsy, so after taking a look at local sellers I came across Wisteria Paper.

I made a mental note of their work and pinned them to my paper board on Pinterest. Alex and Inga seemed just another awesome duo of papercrafters until I saw them at the local Olive Tree Markets on the weekend. I learnt from the ladies at the Olive Tree Market 'Office' that it was their first market and from the looks of the crowd around their stall they were doing awesomely. The lovely ladies have since told me that along with their uber pretty range on Etsy they can also do custom invites and announcements, have a weakness for car boot sales and anything to do with the moon.

This is my favourite item in their Etsy store but do go on and have a look yourself!!

Otherwise you can always head to the next Olive Tree Markets (usually the first Saturday of the month) and meet Alex and Inga in person :)

On a side note recently as a 'liker' of the Olive Tree Markets on Facebook I became aware of a competition they were running to vote for your favourite stall holder and what do you know I won!! so exciting now I just have to figure out what to buy with my $50 voucher at their next markets!! Take a look on their Facebook page here for stall holders and let me know what you think I should buy!!

Also if you are a crafter of sorts selling your wares feel free to drop me an email at the address on the side ----> or alternatively you can head on over to my Facebook page I would love to hear from you and see what wonderful things you come up with :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


So getting ever closer to these dastardly exams and still haven't done an ounce of study.... procrastination will not get the better of me!!

So here is a small yet handy little DIY tip!

I have this awesome pair of brown leather brogues, I bought them when we were on our honeymoon they are super comfy and very good looking but they have one massive negative - I can't walk 5 metres without slipping over.

So in seeking a solution for my slippery shoes I consulted the first person we always consult when we have a problem. My Mum.

Unfortunately she has the same problem and no solution :(

What to do, what to do? So of course I went to the second port of call when you have a problem, I googled it!

Apparently sandpaper is one of a myriad of solutions!! So I gathered the only sandpaper I could find (from an electric sander) and gave the soles a once over. The jury is still out but fingers crossed it works!!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


If you are a follower of my little blog you might remember me writing about my Mum and sister flying over to Dili (East Timor) for a few days with the intention of running a marathon. Well due to some 'strong winds' the plane was unable to land on the alotted day and they missed out on the marathon instead spending a few days wandering around Dili. My Mum likes to buy things, I guess like most mums so I asked my Dad to snap a few shots of her purchases for me.

I believe they purchased the majority of things from street stalls, they both commented to me how confronting the poverty over there was. Katie even told me a story of how she stopped leaving things in their hotel room after finding a window in the bathroom broken.... until Mum told her days later that she had accidently done it herself.

I actually like this little boat but Katie told me she hoped customs wouldn't let it through, she said that when they bought it the two men in the stall were laughing uncontrollably, gesturing at her pants - trying to figure out a way to tell her that her fly was undone.

She also spoke of the incredible politeness of the people, after giving a stall holder too much money for water she was made to accept several more bottles in return and despite the language barrier they did incredibly well.

Monday, June 4, 2012

On the Table

A few weeks ago Joel's Granddad fell ill and was admitted to hospital, we are lucky enough to have a super close relationship with him and even lived with him for a year or so when we first got together. Luckily it was nothing serious but none the less it brought Joel's Dad down for a visit.

Having grown up in Newcastle but now moved away the city presents lots of memories for him and it was great driving the streets of Newy and hearing how things used to be years ago. One thing that he fondly remembers was visiting Jim's Ice-Cream Bar in Hamilton and ordering milkshakes with extra malt, so we swung by to see if it was still there.

 .... and yes it was!!! and almost exactly the same as he remembered it right down to the signs on the walls!! So if you find yourself with a sweet craving in Newcastle I suggest taking yourself down to Jim's on Tudor St and sampling some of the delicious ice-cream or even a malt milkshake - I guarantee you will not regret it!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


As sometimes happens when you get into blogging one source will lead to another and then from there somewhere else - that's how I came to follow Rena Tom, a site all about giving tips and advice to those running creative businesses. Along with her many awesome contributors Rena shares things she has learnt first-hand about running your own business, retail trends, interviews with other creative business owners and practical information relating to legal issues and the other boring stuff that we should know about but tend to avoid. But why am I bringing her up? Well firstly so you can go check out her site here, but also because of this post by Keely Reyes about getting out of creative ruts.

So what's the post about? Keely suggests to keep those creative juices flowing to try and create/draw/write about hearts 50 different ways. So that's what I am doing :)

I am not sure this counts but the first thing I thought of doing was creating a new Photoshop template - of hearts of course :)

The pictures all shown here are my own, the first one is some heart wrapping paper I made back in January for Joel's Mum's birthday, the second is the stack of hearts I made for our wedding invitations, the third the fingerprint guestbook that Joel drew for the wedding and the last one the Happy Attack I made for a family member earlier this year.

I am still in study mode for my exams which happen to occur on the same day (18th June) so my posts for the next two weeks are likely to be short and sweet and now full of hearts!!

Why not give it a go yourself, I would love to see the results :)