Monday, 22 December 2014

fruit cake

so I'm probably a bit late with the Christmas baking but today after a quick trip to the shops to pick up some supplies I set to making a fruit cake. I based my recipe on a CWA recipe (always a winner in my book) for Glad Shute's Christmas Fruit Cake. I left out the alcohol as I didn't have any on hand.

1.375kg mixed fruit. I decided to make up my own combination rather than use the pre-mixed variety. (250g pitted prunes, 375g dried figs, 200g dried apricots, 550g sultanas)
250g butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup or molasses
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Combine all these ingredients in a large pot and place over medium heat on the stove top. Bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes.
Leave to cool.

4 eggs
1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
2 cups plain flour (I used spelt flour)
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 cup chopped nuts (I used half almonds and half macadamias

Beat eggs in a small bowl along with vanilla. Add to cooled fruit mixture.
Dissolve the bi-carb in the hot water and stir into the fruit mixture.
Fold in the flour and chopped nuts.

Bake for 3 hours at 160 degrees Celsius in lined cake tin/s .
Will make one large round cake or two smaller ones.
Cut a round of brown paper to place over the top of the cake while cooking to avoid a burnt top.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slowly, with the tin wrapped in a towel.

Store by wrapping in foil and placing in a cake tin. enjoy.
wishing you a lovely Christmas. x

Saturday, 20 December 2014

new house.

after a stressful few weeks and a long drive we are settling in well to our new house in the central west of NSW.
all the 'necessity' boxes have been unpacked. over a dozen boxes filled with crockery and kitchen ware remain taped up. I'm not sure when i'll unpack them yet.
my love has started his new job. a new career that has been a goal for many years.
I've visited some of the op-shops already and they are a treasure trove of vintage goodies... Ladybird books, floral sheets, glass Christmas baubles and retro dresses all came home with me.
I've tested out the new kitchen with a batch of cocoa nib cookies, carrot cake, roast and baked spuds.
the sewing machine is set up and I've attended to a few jobs... two sets of curtains and a fitted sheet from vintage florals. the thing with vintage linens is fitted sheets are a rare thing. I hope to make a few dresses in the coming weeks. the stinking hot days call for lose-fitting smock dresses.
we are missing our chooks. we gave them to a new home before we left. the long drive and the huge change of climate would have been too much for them to cope with.
Mitten is settling in well. sadly we farewelled our black and white cat Tillie before we moved.

after a forced internet break i'm looking forward to catching up with all your happenings. I've also joined instagram, you can find me at zarannehandmade

hope you're having a lovely weekend. x

Saturday, 6 December 2014

a big move

our home is currently packed up in boxes, so many boxes.
in the next couple of weeks my love and I will be moving. to a new house. in a new town. a town which takes 12 hours of driving to reach.
we're both excited and a bit anxious.
this will be our biggest move yet.
I'm looking forward to unpacking those boxes and decorating our new home. to settling in to a new community. to lots of new photos and the chance to share them with you.
and so the adventure begins...

Saturday, 15 November 2014

things i'm liking now

a few of my favourite things.

dreams that turn into plans, that turn into reality... have you seen the amazing idea that Rohan and Kate have. It's called the nursery project. it will be a place where you can get in there and experience growing your own vegies, picking, preserving, foraging, hunting, cooking and eating. and you can contribute towards making this dream a reality. every little bit helps.

garden growth... there are so many baby apples on the tree. self seeded poppies and nasturtiums are blooming too.

a bouquet of rosemary.. the plants needed a good trim so in came the stems and into a milk glass vase they went.

op-shopping... I've scored some beautiful pieces of clothing lately- a denim dress, lace cropped jacket, polo shirts, a handmade skirt as well as milk glass, a length of linen fabric for sewing and floral sheets.


Thursday, 6 November 2014

milk glass, florals and yellow

a collection of op-shop finds from the last couple of weeks. I've visited a few different op-shops of late, some in Kiama, yesterday saw a drive to Canberra so of course that meant a sticky beak around a couple of oppies there, and then today around the local ones here in town.

milk glass- 50c to $4 each
a sunny yellow chair to add to the mismatched collection that surround the laminex kitchen table. I only discovered the Australiana design while giving it a scrub when I bought it home ($5)
pretty florals ($8 for the both)
a huge Pyrex dish ($6)

have you discovered any op-shop treasures lately that just had to come home with you?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

home life

 my latest reads. mezz and tazz's Hundreds and Thousands mag is onto it's third edition. you can purchase a copy here. I've also found this op-shopped copy all about bee keeping very interesting.

a new op-shopped Johnson plate ($1). another design to add to the collection. 

pretty Pyrex ($4) in a buttery shade.

floral sheets ($2) 

 little Mitten

banana and hazelnut cake. a couple of pieces for now and the rest packaged up in greaseproof paper and washi tape and popped in the freezer to see us through the week.

I tried this recipe for salted banana caramel mousse which was just delicious. it's refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free and vegan.
a parcel filled with handmade goodies arrived in the mail this week from the lovely Tracy.
what loveliness has been filling your days of late?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

field day attire

today we made the drive to Murrumbateman to visit the annual Murrumbateman Field Days.
the sun was shining, a perfect Spring day really. there was so much to look at, and dream of one day buying for a farm of our own.
there are hundreds of exhibitors including cute Belted Galloway cattle, bags of freshly picked apples, fudge, solar panels, tractors, worm farms, alpaca scarves and blankets, chooks, timber furniture and vegie seedlings... a bit of everything really.

chambray shirt: retail
jeans: op-shopped (Sportscraft)
timber sunglasses (made from eco-friendly bamboo): down that little lane
satchel: op-shopped
wooden beads: op-shopped
boots: Baxter Boots and Shoes (a little purchase from this Goulburn-based business)
hat: Akubra

both the boots and hat are new purchases and both are in keeping with my ethical clothing pledge. Akubra and Baxter boots are accredited through Ethical Clothing Australia.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

floral dress lace trim

the inspiration to make is upon me, and with a decent collection of newly purchased dress patterns i wont be short of projects for some time.
this is the first dress i've made with the help of my new overlocker. it's made sewing it up that much quicker and neater.
i added some thrifted cotton lace to the hem of this one for a change.
teamed with lotta clogs, op-shopped leather belt and purse; and my new timber sunglasses.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

happenings and a winner.

the days are flying by here.
overtime at work has seen another week go quickly by
the op-shops have been generous in their offerings
the spinach and kale that lay dormant over winter has sprung to life.
I've been busy making rough puff pastry (using this recipe) and filling it with homegrown spinach and market-purchased cheese
the sweet peas are in bloom. as is the lavender
we made a Biltong box and my love has been enjoying the dried meat. I hope to share a little DIY to make your own Biltong box if you're interested.
I've been blessed with a few parcels from blog friends filled with vintage sheets, LGBs and tea towels
a new camera lens was purchased as an early Christmas present. i'm enjoying playing with it
I also picked a winner for the little tea towel cushion cover give away. and that winner is...
if you could email me your address i'll post the cushion cover and a couple of other goodies your way.
what have you been up to lately?

Monday, 29 September 2014


Fire King mug in a design I haven't seen about before now ($1)
pretty little teaspoons
mustard floral tablecloth ($3)
Actil sheets ($2 each)
3 new scarves for the collection. 2 Ken Done's and one that reminds me of a Liberty design ($1 each)


Monday, 22 September 2014

a floral dress and tooled leather bag

so with the delightful Spring weather here finally I've been able to wear this dress. I made it back in the autumn but didn't get much of a chance to wear it as the temperatures were rather winter-like.
the fabric is op-shopped upholstery type fabric and I used a Style pattern 3671 for the top and a simple pleated skirt.

dress: handmade
tooled leather bag: newly thrifted from the tip-shop ($2)
belt: Oroton snakeskin, op-shopped ($2)
tan clogs: Lotta from Stockholm

Monday, 15 September 2014

home-made shaving cream

one of my hopes for 2014 is making more beauty and cleaning products myself. so when my other half finished the last tube of shaving lotion I didn't buy a replacement. instead I made a batch and it was a success. all it requires is 5 ingredients, most of which I already had on hand.

1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tblsp cocoa butter
2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
2 drops tea tree oil

gently melt the coconut oil and coconut butter together in a large bowl, either on the stove top or the microwave.
add the bi-carb soda, castile soap and tea tree oil. whip all the ingredients together with a hand mixer/stand mixer until thick and foamy.
store in a jar or recycled container.
I decanted it into two jars. one for the bathroom and the other is in the fridge where it will last for several weeks. this shaving cream is lovely and thick with a delicious chocolate scent from the addition of the cocoa butter.

do let me know if you try this recipe. I'd love to hear what you think of it.
do you have any favourite homemade cleaning/beauty recipes?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

thrifted thursday

sharing this weeks op-shopped goodies...
pyrex- $1 for the small, $1.50 for the medium and $2 for the largest.
3 pillow slips (half price sale at Vinnies- 25c each)
double bed sheets in a sunny yellow floral ($4). this is my current favourite design
pink floral sheets (half price at $3)
and 2 woollen jumpers. one for me and one for my love ($3.50 each)