Handmade gift of the day: No-Cook Playdough

The special smell of home-made playdough still brings back fond childhood memories for me. Although you can now purchase Playdough in a rainbow of colours, part of the fun of homemade playdough is the anticipation and process of making it, as well as deciding what colour to make it. 

This playdough recipe is quick, inexpensive, and easy to make with the kids (especially on a rainy day when you’re looking for an indoor activity). 

This would also be a fun thing to include in a party bag (instead of heaps of lollies). Just seal a ball of it up in a zip-lock bag for the kids to take home and play with later. You could also include some cookie cutter shapes with it. 

Photo by Alex Bruda


  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Half a cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • Approx. 1.5 cups of hot water
  • Food colouring

Photo by Alex Bruda


1. Mix the flour, salt, vegetable oil and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. 
2. Mix the flood colouring and hot water together and add the water to the flour mixture
3. Stir until the mixture comes together and forms a dough
4. Let the dough cool slightly before kneading it well. You can add more flour if required.  

This recipe was kindly shared with us by Cooinda Cottage Child Care, ACT

Check out more handmade gifts here

What’s your favourite indoor activity to do with your kids on  rainy days?

We’d love your thoughts – please share your comments below…


Here’s why we love Egglings:

  • They’re a great alternative to chocolate this Easter
  • They’re easy to grow – simply crack the top of the egg, water and place in a light position
  • Plant will grow in the Eggling for 5 months before you need to replant
  • They make a great gift for gardeners, children and people who have everything
  • They look great on a kitchen windowsill and are a fun talking piece
  • The smart gift box they come in presents beautifully as a gift. 

Get one here…

The best handmade gifts…

Mr Gift office gift ideas
March is Mr Gift’s Handmade Gift Month. To celebrate, we’ve included five of our favourite handmade gifts below, plus links to some of our favourite handmade gift ideas on our blog.

Here’s why we love handmade gifts:

1. They’re unique – handmade gifts will make the fussiest gift recipients smile. 
2. They support artisans and small businesses – most handmade gifts are made by individuals and small businesses who are passionate about what they do and are trying to make a difference in the world through their practice.
3. They have an environmental conscience – many of these handmade products repurpose existing products that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
4. They are made with love – the artisans that make these products aren’t purely focused on making a profit from these items – often they are a labour of love. Choosing these items for a recipient shares this love.

We’re also offering FREE DELIVERY on all orders from now until midnight Friday 3/4/15.  

Use Coupon Code HANDMADE in the Coupon Code field when you place your order.  

This offer can’t be used in conjunction with other offers, or redeemed for cash. But please feel free to share with family and friends:)

Here are five of our favourite handmade gifts – share the love…

Bicycle Leather Wine Rack
1. Bicycle Leather Wine Rack $49.95
Love cycling? Love wine?
Now you can combine your love for both with this bicycle leather wine rack. No romantic bike ride would be complete without one of these! Also available in black
It's About Time Elegant Cufflinks
2. It’s About Time Elegant Cufflinks $249.95
Each of these unique cufflinks are handmade from vintage watches (from 1920-1960) by US jewellery designer, Robin Frances. Cufflinks are presented in a lacquered gift box with a certificate of authenticity.
Wine Bottle Glasses, small
3. Wine Bottle Glasses (set of 4) $29.95
Empty wine bottles sourced from bars and events have been repurposed to create these unique glasses. Check outBottleHood’s range of repurposed glasses here…
Man Cave Rules Dictionary Print
4. Vintage Dictionary Print (framed) $24.95
A passion for “making old things new and worth-while again” was what inspired The Salvaged Sparrow designer, Kerrie Lightfoot to create this striking range of prints on the pages of vintage dictionaries.
View more prints here…
Troika Magic Card Case
5. Crumbz Butchers Apron $29.95
A stylish gift for men who know their way around a kitchen.
Handmade in Australia (Healesville, Victoria).
Check out the Crumbz range here…

Why I do what I do: Dianne Brinsmead-Ward from The Sassy Cook

Where do you source new recipes from when you get bored of your regular mid-week recipe repertoire?

Although I have quite a few recipe books I often refer back to, I have recently found myself scouring the web for interesting food websites and blogs. There is a plethora of helpful and unhelpful information out there, so when I find a website with consistently useful information, I stick with it. The Sassy Cook is my latest favourite recipe website – here’s why I love it:

  • It’s easy to navigate – you can search recipes by meal or ingredient
  • It’s real – The Sassy Cook founder, Dianne’s food manta is “how to be fast and fabulous in the kitchen”. She’s a busy mum to two young children and gets the need for speed when preparing meals for the family. However, speedy meals don’t mean compromising on quality ingredients that nourish our bodies.
  • Delicious recipes – I’m tempted by every single recipe on here. Best Ever Brownies, Salted Caramel and Banana Cookies, Lamb and Veggie Sausage Rolls, Sticky Spicy Drumsticks are just a few of The Sassy Cook’s tempting recipes.
  • Simple recipes – Recipes are simple to follow and contain common ingredients found in most household pantries/fridges.
  • It’s inspiring – don’t look at this website when you’re hungry! The stunning photographs of food featured on here are ‘food porn’ at its best!

    “The Sassy Cook is all about being fast and fabulous in the kitchen,”
    Dianne Brinsmead-Ward, Founder of The Sassy Cook

    Founder of The Sassy Cook, Dianne Brinsmead-Ward kindly shares more about The Sassy Cook, her background, and life philosophy in our below interview…

    1. Tell us a bit about your job and how you got to where you are now?
    My blog, The Sassy Cook is all about being fast and fabulous in the kitchen. I have a background in food and my blog allows me to draw my experience together into a wonderful hub of recipes that help busy people have fun in the kitchen.

    I got to where I am now through a lifetime of studying food, spending time with chefs, cooking on cooking shows, researching food and lots of recipe book reading. I have thousands of recipe books and read them like novels. I am also a freelance journalist.
    About a year ago I woke up one morning and decided it was time to combine my passion of writing and cooking into one blogging juggernaut – The Sassy Cook was born. I didn’t fuss over the name – it took me all of 10 mins to come up with the name, as that’s what the blog is all about – being fast, sassy and fabulous. Food is such an integral part of our lives and I wanted to provide a way to make cooking quick, functional and enjoyable.

    Since starting my blog, my food tips and home organisation skills have been featured on many news and lifestyle TV shows, blogs and magazines.

    The Sassy Cook Chocolate Brownies

    2. What do you love most about your job?
    Cooking and food is a way of life for me. It provides me a creative outlet and a way to reach out to people. I can lose myself for hours creating recipes and writing up posts. In essence, I love being a source of assistance to my readers, making one of the major components of their life – eating! – fun and stress free.

    Food testing and road-testing new kitchen gadgets is also very cool!


    3. What’s your life mantra?
    Work hard, play hard, eat well and love your family and yourself like no other.

    4. What else would you be doing if you didn’t do what you do?
    I would be a chef.


    5.What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
    My Renault Clio from my husband this week.

    6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever bought someone?

    The Nutribullet for my mother in law (and myself). By far the most valuable kitchen gadget one could own.
    Check out www.thesassycook.com or The Sassy Cook facebook page for more delicious recipes and clever cooking tips.

    How to run a fast 10km race: Ali Cavill’s top tips

    The Australian Running Festival (Canberra) is just over three weeks away. I have registered to do the 10km race and am feeling pretty excited. Apart from a head-cold, training has been going pretty well. Having run a few 10km races before, I am familiar with the distance, but I’ve plateaued. I’m at the point where I keep running the same time and not improving my time as much as I would like.

    So my big question is: How do I run a faster 10km race?

    I went on the hunt for some expert advice, and Ali Cavill (Head Trainer and Owner of Fit Fantastic) kindly shared some of her wisdom below…

    “My two favourite exercises to boost your strength and running skills, for myself as well as a Personal Trainer, are the squat and plyometric exercises. I use these exercises to train my clients for better running fitness and ability and they are an ideal exercise to add to your preparation and training schedule for any upcoming obstacle style running races, such as Greatest Athlete race!” says Ali.

    Ali Cavill from Fit Fantastic

    1) Leg press or squat
    Attempt to lower the weight in a slow and controlled manner. A heavy weight used should be used, and only 2 sets of each exercise should be completed, with a long rest between each. The number of reps should not exceed 12, and like the strength endurance training, single leg exercises are advised where possible.

    2) Plyomterics (lunges)
    Explosive power improving endurance performance. For runners, explosive power developed primarily through plyometric exercises (jumps) and sprints, can help reduce ground contact time. Alternate leg lunges, jumping from one to the other with back knee close to the ground. Propulsion using front heel. Running arms to maintain stability and power.

    The exercises should be added to your training regime in sets of 8-10 and repeated 2 or 3 times. 3 times a week in any athlete’s regime will see you adding explosion and spring in your step!
    These running tips were kindly shared with us by Ali Cavill, Health & Wellness Expert and Owner, Fit Fantastic. Ali is Head Trainer and Owner of Fit Fantastic, a leading health and fitness company, and is a renowned “face” of health and fitness. She is a Fitness Ambassador for Centre for Health Brain Ageing (CHeBA) UNSW and Australian Sports Nutrition (ASN), Brand Ambassador for Rockwear Gym Clothing and a Warrior for Australian Institute of Fitness. Connect with Ali via her Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram: alifitfantastic

    How do you prepare for a fun run or improve your running time?
    We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…

    Handmade gift of the day: Sew Wanderlust embroideries by Teresa Lim

    Do you have a favourite holiday photo you’d like to do something special with?

    Teresa Lim has taken her gorgeous holiday snaps to a new level, by immortalizing them in needlework.

    These intricate embroidery works were inspired by her travels around the world, and we reckon they would make a sensational handmade gift – especially for someone special that you shared your travels with. Here are some of our favourites…

    Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

    Big Ben, London


    Serpentine Falls, Perth


    Charles Bridge, Prague



    View more of Teresa’s embroideries here, and check out more handmade gifts here

    What’s your favourite holiday snap?

    We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…

    Handmade gift of the day: Knitted Wine Sleeve

    A bottle of wine makes a fantastic gift, and this handmade Knitted Wine Sleeve makes it even more special.

    Knitted Wine Sleeve from Etsy store, paperandparcel

    Why we love it:

    • They are a great way to reuse an old jumper that may be damaged, have holes in it, etc. If you don’t have an old jumper, check out op shops and charity stores for different options.
    • They can be personalized depending on what type of ribbon you use.
    • You can add a gift tag with a personalized message
    • I don’t know many people who don’t love a bottle of wine, but you could also gift a bottle of whisky, spirits, or something non-alcoholic. 
    • The knit stretches to accommodate most sized bottles, and the length of the sleeve can be adjusted to match the height of the bottle for the perfect fit.

    Check out our other handmade gift ideas here…

    What’s your favourite type of wine to give as a gift?

    We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…

    Handmade gift of the day: Painted Oven Mitts

    These cute oven mitts are a delightful gift idea for the kids to make for dad, mum, grandma, grandad, or family friends. They are perfect for any occasion as a birthday gift, Christmas gift, Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gift, or even a Thank You gift.

    Why we love them:

    • They are simple to make – just grab a plain oven mitt and some fabric paint.
    • You can pick up oven mitts pretty cheaply in any discount department store.
    • You can pick your colours to suit your recipient or occasion, i.e. blue or red for a man, pink or purple for a woman and red and green for Christmas.
    • The handprints are a great design – they are personalized and capture a moment in time when the kids are a certain age. We also love date-stamping them too.
    • Tip – use contrasting coloured paint on a plain mitt to ensure your design stands out.

    Check out our other handmade gift ideas here…

    What is the best handmade gift you’ve ever received?
    We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…

    Favourite Six St Patrick’s Day Gifts

    It’s St Patrick’s Day on Tuesday 17th March, so we thought we’d share some of our favourite handmade gift ideas. It’s amazing how much gift inspiration you can draw from green, gold, rainbows and all things Irish…

    1. Paper Shamrocks
    These would be great fun for a party or a kid’s bedroom. They’re pretty easy to make, so the kids could have fun making these too.  

    They would also look great in other colours – tonal or contrasting bright colours as a simple mobile to decorate a bedroom.  

    Image from www.sugarbeecrafts.com

    2. Fresh flowers in green jars
    Either paint your own jars, or look for green jars in op shops or discount stores. 
    You could also decorate a clear glass jar with a green ribbon. Flowers with large green leaves (like these tulips) complement the ‘green’ look. 

    Image from www.yesterdayontuesday.com

    3. Green gift hamper
    This would make a great Thank You gift or a fun present for someone whose birthday falls on St Patrick’s Day. You could also take a larger version of this hamper to work to share with your work colleagues. 

    Image from www.thetoddanderinfavoritefive.com

    4. Horseshoe with green ribbon
    Horseshoes are considered to be lucky (just make sure they are turned this way up – so the luck stays in them!). Add some green ribbon and a personal message and they make a beautiful gift to adorn a front door. 

    Image from www.theinteriorevolution.com

    5. Pot of Gold
    This is a classy gift for a classy recipient. The gifts you put in here obviously don’t have to be real gold, and you could have some fun being a ‘magpie’ and finding gold trinkets to pop in here. A can of gold spray paint could also be your best friend here! We LOVE the gold pegs 🙂

    Image from www.persialou.com
    6. Rainbow Lolly Bags
    A few bags of coloured lollies, some gold coins, a glass (a clear plastic cup is better for kiddies), some cellophane, and ribbon is all that’s required to make these fun little lolly pots. These would be great fun for kids to make with/for their friends – just expect a few lollies to go missing before they make it into the glass!

    Image from www.icanteachmychild.com

    Which St Patrick’s Day gift idea do you like best? 
    We’d love your thoughts – please comment below…