Handmade gift of the week: Button Clock

While we’re on the button theme, here is a gorgeous clock that uses a mixed assortment of buttons and an embroidery hoop to create this unique clock.

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/themasonbee?ref=l2-shopheader-name

 
 
Why we love it:
 
  • You can completely personalize this clock to suit the recipient depending on:
– What buttons and base fabric you use – bright colours for children, tonal feminine colours for a female, or dark/primary colours for a man.
– Style of clock hands/mechanism
– Colour of embroidery hoop (they are usually made from wood, so could be painted any colour you like).
 
  • If you’re not crafty you could purchase a custom-made one from Mason Bee on Etsy.
 
Who would you make this clock for?
We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…
 

Seven Ways to Use Buttons on Gift Cards and Tags

Do you have a Button Jar? If so, how many of the buttons in that jar can you identify?

Chances are the garment that spare button/s came from is long gone, but you can’t bare to throw any out…just in case.

Here are some ideas of how to reuse old buttons, especially the decorative ones that are too nice to hide away in a jar!

1. I Love U card
Beautiful use of various red and pink buttons glued on a stripy heart shape.

http://taysrocha.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/button-art-mais-inspiracoes-com-botoes.html



2. Multi-coloured button gift tag
A lovely way of using a mix of different coloured/sized buttons. You could use seasonal colours (red and green for Christmas) or tonal colours that suit the recipient.

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/evajeanie/product/vintage-button-christmas-gift-tags
 
 
3. Button flowers
These gorgeous little button flowers could be applied to a card or gift tag in a number of different ways. The newsprint flower base works well with any coloured button, and you could use tonal or contrasting coloured thread to add other colours to your theme.
 

 
 
4. Button monogram
This button monogram would make a beautiful baby gift – as a card or as a framed piece of wall art. This is a gift to treasure forever!
 
https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/letterperfectdesigns?ref=l2-shopheader-name
 
5. Button gingerbread man
These sweet little gift tags would be great for children’s gifts, or on a child’s party invitation
 
https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/MoonlightStamper?ref=shopsection_shophome_leftnav
 
 
6. Button balloons card
It’s fun to think of objects that buttons could be turned into on a card…
 
http://indulgy.com/post/mEpvwgCOJ1/kids-crafts-buttons#/do/page/1
Image from www.indulgy.com
 
 
7. Button cupcake gift tag
A very sweet idea for a gift tag anyone would be delighted to receive – and keep forever! Masculine blue, red, grey, or green colours could be used to make this gift tag for a man.
 
 
 
 
What’s the most memorable card or gift tag you’ve ever received?
We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…

 


Favourite Cheesecake Recipes: Pumpkin Custard Cheesecake

Pumpkin is a vegetable. Using pumpkin in a dessert makes it healthy, right???

Well, that’s what I’m going with when it comes to this delicious Pumpkin Custard Cheesecake recipe from Dianne Ward.

“I love cooking with vegetables with my desserts – it makes me feel like I’m adding a little bit of goodness. The measurements with this recipe are a bit fluid!  So go with your instincts.   Please also remove the cake from the oven whilst it still has an inviting wobble in the centre,” says freelance writer and food blogger, Dianne.

You can’t beat the rich golden colour of this Pumpkin Custard Cheesecake.
Simply add some crushed nuts to the top to serve.

Ingredients:


Base
  • 1.5 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons of soft butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar

 Pumpkin cheesecake filling:
  • 1.5 cups finely pureed cooked pumpkin
  • 1 block of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar or to your taste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp chinese 5 spice
  • 2 eggs
  • rind of one organic lemon

  

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degees Celsius. Grease a 19cm x 19cm square pan.
  2. Place flour, ground nuts, sugar in a bowl and mix well.  Add butter and rub in with finger tips.  Add a little water to bring together if needed. Place in pan.
  3. For the topping place your pumpkin puree, cream cheese, sugar, lemon rind and spices and a food processor and process until the mix is silky smooth. Pour on top of base.
  4. Bake for about 30 mins. It may need longer but remember to leave it a little wobbly in the centre.

Tip:
To serve, you could sprinkle some crushed nuts or cinnamon sugar on top of the cheesecake and add some cream or ice cream on the side.

This recipe was kindly shared with us by Dianne Ward. Dianne is a mother of two young children, freelance writer and founder of food blog www.thesassycook.com that champions being fast and fabulous in the kitchen. Check out www.thesassycook.com for more delicious recipes and clever cooking tips.

 


Favourite Cheesecake Recipes: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites

Peanut butter – good. Cheese – good. Cake – good.

Unless you’re allergic to peanuts, this Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe ticks all the flavour boxes. In fact, I’m a little disappointed I haven’t discovered peanut butter cheesecake sooner!

Peanut butter + choc chips in a cheesecake = perfect match!


Ingredients:

 
  • 1 cup crushed chocolate biscuits
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon gelatin
  • 225g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 200g sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips



Method:

  1. Mix cookie crumbs with butter and press into an 8×8-inch square dish.
  2. Combine gelatin with 1 tablespoon of water and let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, condensed milk and peanut butter.
  4. Microwave gelatin 20 to 30 seconds to melt and beat into the cream cheese mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into the dish and freeze for 20 minutes. Cut into bite-size squares.


This recipe was kindly shared with us by Sydney Heaters & Pizza Ovens – sydneyheaters.com.au. Endorsed by top Australian chefs, the Alfresco Wood-Fired Pizza Oven lets you escape the kitchen and entertain your guests. Cook everything from pizzas to roasts to breads and desserts. It’s easy to clean with no mess and no fuss. Attractive and efficient, you can take your cooking to a whole new level as the even heat ensures perfect cooking. With over 25 years industry experience, they know their pizza ovens and can help you make the right decision for your outdoor cooking experience.

Have you had peanut butter in sweet dishes before? We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…


Favourite Cheesecake Recipes: Cheesecake in a shot glass

Baked vs. no-bake, lemon, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla – there are so many different variations of cheesecake. Cheesecake is such a versatile treat – a pick-me-up with a coffee or a delicious dessert after dinner.

This is Dianne Ward’s version of a quickie cheesecake. Dianne says, “Whilst I love a good slab of traditional-style cheesecake anytime, I find that this little treat is so easy to whip up.  Ten to 15 minutes should do it. Maximum flavour, minimum faffing about. Bring out a tray of these at your next dinner party and I’m sure you will be very popular!”

Cheesecake in a shot glass – the perfect party treat for people to eat as they mingle


Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 x 250g block of cream cheese
  • 1 x 400g tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • Juice of 2 lemons


“This is DELICIOUS and never fails to work out perfectly every time.  The base consists of the combination of walnuts and dates – you could of course use any nuts that you have in your larder or a combination.  It blends into a sticky crunch and a perfect foil for the soft and luscious sweet cream cheese,” says Dianne.

Base:

  • 2 cups of walnuts
  • 1 cup of dates
  • Topping:
  • Simply mash up some fresh or frozen berries until pulpy to dollop on the top.


Method:

1. Blend the nuts and dates together to a sticky crumbly mass and set aside. It actually comes together well enough that if you want to squidge it together to form a base, that is ok.
2. For the filling put the cream cheese into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add condensed milk and blend until mixed and creamy smooth.
3. Add the juice and blend again until smooth.  You will see the mix thicken instantly.
4. Grab 8 shot glasses (or larger glasses but it will of course make less) and divide base amongst the glasses, then add filling.
5. Top with your berries. Exquisite. 

Tips:

  • You could also add a little of your favourite liqueur into the topping
  • Serving alternatives – simply layer your cheesecake with fresh berries and the nut base.


 Check out our other cheesecake recipes here

This recipe was kindly shared with us by Dianne Ward. Dianne is a mother of two young children, freelance writer and founder of food blog www.thesassycook.com that champions being fast and fabulous in the kitchen. Check out www.thesassycook.com for more delicious recipes and clever cooking tips.


What’s your favourite type of cheesecake? We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…

PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: SUCK UK Bottle Light

http://www.mrgift.com.au/homewares/wine-beer-bar/wine-bottle-light
 
Here’s why you need a SUCK UK Bottle Light in your life: 
  • Finally there’s a reason to keep empty wine bottles with a nice labels!
  • Repurpose empty wine bottles into beautiful lamps
  • Safe to use around the family, home, and outside
  • Creates soft mood lighting
  • Charges quickly and easily via USB
  • Easy to use – simply place the light in the neck of your wine bottle

Get one here

Handmade gift of the week: 40 Reasons Why I Love You Notebook

One of the nicest gifts to receive from someone is a compliment. It’s very easy to focus on what we don’t like about ourselves, so a gift like this is a massive self-esteem boost.

Who wouldn’t love to receive a gift like this?

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/quotesandnotes?ref=l2-shop-header-avatar
 
40 Reasons Why I Love You notebook from Etsy store, quotesandnotes


Why we love it:

  • This is a gift that everyone would love. Young, old, male, female – this is a rare gift that transcends gender and culture.
  • It’s personal – there would be no two books the same as each one would be unique to its recipient.
  • It shows you care – a certain level of effort and thought is required on the gift-giver’s part, making this gift extremely precious.
This is the ultimate personalized gift to suit anyone


Things to write in this book:

  • Focus on personality, as opposed to appearance. Comments like you have ‘gorgeous blue eyes’,’a beautiful smile’ or ‘a cute butt’ are flattering. However, compliments on the things we can control have lasting impact and don’t fade with age. For example: loyalty, a great laugh, patience, a kind heart, etc.
  • Think about the types of things you’d like to be complimented on. Chances are your recipient would like to be complimented on similar traits (that are applicable to them, of course).
  • You could get other people to contribute to the book (such as family, friends or work colleagues), making it a great group gift that everyone feels they have contributed to.
The simplicity of this book makes it look even more bespoke and genuine


Who would you give this book to? We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…

Recipe of the Week: Sam Canning’s Free Range BBQ Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is really versatile – you can serve if hot on a bun or cold on a sandwich. It’s one of my all-time favourite recipes. Sure, you need to allow 6 hours cooking time, but when you taste that rich BBQ flavour with the tang and sweetness of apple, it’s worth every second.

This recipe was kindly shared with us by Sam Canning from Cannings Free Range Butchers. Sam developed this recipe for all the pulled pork lovers out there.

The secret? A mixture of BBQ sauce, apple and select herbs and spices while cooking the meat slowly (to maximize flavour and tenderness).

 
Sam’s Pulled Pork Slider – the ultimate way to enjoy pulled pork

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 6 hours


Ingredients:
Serves 10

  •  2.5 kg Skinless, bone in, free range pork shoulder
  •  1 x SpiceVince Coriander Zing Marinade
  •  1 x Handful of brown sugar
  •  3 x Apples, skin removed and grated
  •  100-200 ml DL Jardines BBQ sauce
  •  500 ml Chicken Stock
  •  1 x Spices of your choosing (e.g. dried chilli)
  •  1 x Knob of Butter


To serve – Coleslaw and Brioche buns

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. Fry a whole tube of SpiceVine Coriander Zing marinade in a heavy cast iron pot with a knob of butter on the stove-top.
3. Rub the pork with brown sugar and any other spices you like, such as
dried chilli.

 
Rub the pork with brown sugar and your choice of spices



4. Cook the coriander marinade and butter for five minutes before adding 500ml of free range chicken stock.
5. Add the seasoned pork shoulder to the pot and place the lid on.
6. Place in the oven for three hours.
7. Add the grated apples to the pot and mash/stir into the stock.
8. Place the pot back in the oven, lid on, and reduce the temperature to 120 degrees.
9. Cook for another three hours then remove from the oven.

Cooked pork ready to be shredded


10. Shred the pork with two forks and be sure to remove all bones.
11. Add 100-200 ml of DL Jardines BBQ sauce (or any other favourite BBQ sauce).
12. Keep shredding and mixing until the pulled pork looks sticky, saucy and delicious.

 
Adding BBQ sauce for extra saucy stickiness


13. Serve with coleslaw and brioche buns for the full Sam Canning’s BBQ Pulled
Pork Slider experience.

Thanks to Sam for sharing this delicious recipe with us. Sam Canning is the owner of Cannings Free Range Butchers. He’s the butcher who loves animals. Sam opened his first Cannings in 2010 and as the name suggests only stocks 100% free range produce. He’s also a believer in local and sustainable produce. All products for his recipes can be found online at www.canningsfreerangebutchers.com.au
 

Random Acts of Kindness: 10 Ways to Make Someone’s Day

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day – a day dedicated to showing others little gestures of kindness. Here are 10 little ideas of how you could make someone’s day:

1. Smile at five strangers
2. Say something nice about someone
3. Share your umbrella
4. Bring in your neighbour’s rubbish bins
5. Complain less – be the person you want to be around
6. Leave a book on public transport for someone else to enjoy
7. Pay a compliment – on something nice someone is wearing, or to a waiter/waitress who has given great service
8. Share a positive facebook or blog post
9. Make conversation with someone new – talk to someone you know, but don’t usually speak to at work, etc.
10. Bake – make a cake, some cookies or something tasty for your work colleagues or friends.

 
 
What is your favourite way to brighten someone’s day?
We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…


Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day

It was a scorching hot Canberra day, and I desperately needed fuel. After pulling into the nearest service station, I filled up, locked the car and went to pay. There was only one problem – I had my toddler and baby in the back seat. 


I hate leaving the kids in the car when I go to pay for fuel (I’m actually pretty sure it’s illegal), and I usually try and fill the car up when they’re not with me. But on this occasion I had to fill up or we wouldn’t get home. The other option was to get them both out of the car and take them in with me, but my baby was asleep. There was already a queue of cars behind me waiting to fill up, so I thought it best if I ran in quickly – the queue inside didn’t look that long. 

Once inside, I regreted my decision. There were only two other people in front of me, but the customer being served was taking an incredibly long time (choosing the chocolates that would give him an additional $5 off his fuel). The middle-aged man in front of me could see I was getting increasingly anxious as I kept looking at my car, hoping both children were ok. When the customer at the front of the line had finished, the man in front of me said “Please jump in front of me – I can see you have two little ones in the car you need to get back to”. 

Normally I hate jumping queues, but on this occasion I gratefully accepted his offer. This small but incredibly kind gesture made my day. Not only had he sensed my tension, he had worked out what the problem was and offered a solution. The only thing it had cost him was time, but that and our health are our most precious resources these days. 

I often find myself going about my day ‘blinkered’. I’m ashamed to say I don’t see the person who has dropped their shopping, or the person behind me in the supermarket queue with only one item (when I have a full trolley). I still think of the kindness this man showed me and it reminds me that we should never take these actions for granted, no matter how small. 

One small act of kindness could just make someone’s day. 


Tuesday 17 February is Random Acts of Kindness Day, so to honour this day we caught up with Karen Chaston from www.karenchaston.com.au, who shares her thoughts on random acts of kindness: 

1. What was the last Random Act of Kindness shown to you? 

Karen: Almost daily, I get a smile, a nod from total strangers, though the other day, I was at a coffee shop waiting and a lady started chatting to me and then said she would like to pay for my green tea. 

2. What was the last Random Act of Kindness you showed someone else? 

Karen: Just this morning I was walking back to my car and a teenage school girl was walking to school with her headphones on. I tapped her on the shoulder and asked her if she reads. She said sometimes… I then said if it was a book about how you can have higher self-esteem, value yourself, understand your body bio-chemically and physiologically would you read it. She said yes, so I handed her a copy of my book, with a card and asked her to contact me with any feedback or questions 

3. What are the best types of Random Acts of Kindness? 

Karen: When you do something randomly – like give a total stranger a compliment, initially they may be taken back and then they’ll thank you saying ‘Wow you have just made my day, it was not going so well up until now!” 

4. How do you think we can perform Random Acts of Kindness more frequently? What are some simple Random Act of Kindness we can incorporate into our daily life? 

Karen: Smile at a stranger, give them a compliment, ask them how they are feeling, make them laugh, buy them a coffee, give them something, help them out, give a random “heart to heart” hug. 

About Karen: Karen Chaston inspires women to become their own best friend, which allows them to be more aware, grateful, healthier, energised and live in Essence. www.karenchaston.com.au 



What was the last last random act of kindness you showed or received? We’ love your thoughts – please comment below…