Wednesday, March 28, 2012

a doggie coat

It gets very very cold up here and my poor little doggie is not really suited to this extreme.  So I made him a wee coat using a gorgeous Marimekko cow print plastic coated fabric lined with wadding then black polar fleece... all with a removable Turtle Neck.

I think he likes it, and it suits him!

Monday, February 27, 2012

what a door!

I was visiting a friend last week in her apartment in the mountains.  As I walked up the stairs I was greeted with what has now become my most favourite door and door furniture ever (so far)!

This door was hand carved and I believe the Horse door handle was too!  The patterns were on both sides of the door and they echoed the details of the interior including the lines of the pitched ceiling and the stepped detail either side of the fireplace.  

AWESOMELY KITSCH!  What do you think?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

this tissue paper thing...

I am seeing tissue paper pom pom's on all the websites, in all the magazines and at every party and wedding.  They look fantastic particularly when mixed with different hanging lanterns and flowers.

Eager to know what all the fuss is about, I ordered some tissue paper of my own to see what I could come up with, possibly for decorating our own wedding.

I love the idea of inexpensive wedding decorations as weddings can be costly.  But I don't necessarly want pom pom's, rather something a little more original so here is what I came up with...

Then just to entertain myself for a few hours, I got a bit more colourful with different styles and technques...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

the finished product

So the lemons have been resting in the strong alcohol for at least 1 month now so it's time to complete the next step...

Strain the lemon peels from the alcohol, you will see the beautiful golden coloured alcohol infused with the oils of the lemon peel.  Also, notice that at this point of the brewing process, the lemon peels have been depleted of all their oils and will basically snap in your fingers as you can see in the second image below!

In a saucepan I then heated up some water with sugar to create a syrup.  You must use the equal quantity of sugar to alcohol, I used 4 cups of sugar for my 1 litre of alcohol.  With the water, I reckon it is up to you to decide how strong you want the alcohol content of the Limoncello.  I think mine is about 40% using 1 1/2 litres of water (a little strong but I like it).

Once the sugar syrup has cooled to room temperature you can add this to the lemon alcohol.  Just stick it in the freezer for a few days as the flavour really develops over a short period of time.

And, that's it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a little vanilla

I LOVE MAKING... anything, baking, stitching. preserving and crafting.  You might say I have truly discovered my inner Martha Stewart (of sorts).  If I can't find it I will make it.

I made our Christmas napkin rings, some Spiced Persimmon Jam, an up cycled storage solution for all of our shoes and I have ordered some fabric to make our new "Pooch" a winter coat.  And, one thing you can't find in the supermarkets here is Vanilla Extract.

Vanilla Extract is a baking basic but it seems no one really bakes over here because there are plenty of Patisseries and Boulangeries that service those with a sweet tooth.  Thanks to my beautiful Mum I absolutely adore home baking... the process, the smell and finally the taste!  But who wants to use 'imitation' or 'vanilla flavoured' essence?  Not me!!!

So here it is, I have made my own Vanilla Extract / Essence to use in all my home baked goods.  All you need is Vodka and Vanilla Beans.  Just 100ml of Vodka per Vanilla Bean but I have put in an additional Vanilla Bean for extra flavour!

You can buy a glass test tube in the supermarket here with 3 Vanilla Beans for only 2.40CHF (not bad when they are about $5 each in Oz).  It's enough to last me 10 years of baking but it was super cheap to make and it smells amazing.

Oh, and the bottles are from a local Swiss soft drink...awesome!

This is a small test batch that I made about 3 weeks ako with a spare vanilla bean.  You can see the vodka drawing out the vanilla flavour.  All you need to do is give the bottle a shake once a week to keep it brewing.  You can longer smell the vodka, only the fragrant vanilla goodness!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Well there is a first for everything and this is the first time I have had my hand at making Limoncello.

It begins with a big glass bottle which cost about 4 euros in Italy, a bunch of bio lemons and some 96 proof alcohol.

All you need to do is wash then peel the yellow skin only off the lemons and place this in the large bottle with the alcohol.  Once this is done you place the large bottle in a dark, cool place (but not cold) for at least 1 month and then the magic happens.

Over time the alcohol will draw all the beautiful lemony oils out of the peels and begin to turn the alcohol a gorgeous light golden colour.

At the end of the resting period, I will then do a sugar, water solution and reduce the alcohol content to 1/3 of it's current strength... I will follow up with this process!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the pear

A little trip over the border and you are in the Italian city of Como on the amazing Lago di Como... one of the most breathtaking lakes in Europe!

It was time to do some shopping to find a few special items for the lounge room.  In one store 'Heimstore' there were some very gorgeous cushions in Marimekko prints and fabulous decorator objects but you just couldn't go past the amazingly eye-catching giant fruit.

The fruit are made in Brasil by hand using the most beautiful ceramic, organic pigments and real sticks for the stems of the fruit.  Each piece is unique because of it's artisanal beginnings.  Check out for more fruit and other amazing ceramics.

The chairs are antique tobacco-leather wing chairs from the UK and the cushion is from Heimstore in Marimekko 'Tuuli' print.   The Paua Shell Bowl is hand-made pottery from New Zealand.  The coffee table books are by Jonathan Adler and Tricia Guild