Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Blueberry & Ricotta Scrolls

A fan of the IQS books, on a recent trip to Coles I stumbled upon a New Idea recipe magazine titled 'You Won't Believe It's Sugar Free".

The first recipe I honed in on was Blueberry & Ricotta Scrolls, as I've made similar non 'sugar free' versions before.

This recipe is so quick & easy & if - like me - you have a child who doesn't like blueberries, they can easily be substituted out with another fruit.

Both times I have made this recipe I whipped up a double batch of the dough, which I halved, and made one tray of blueberry scrolls & one tray of sultana scrolls.

Single batch recipe:

2 1/4 self raising flour
1/3 Natvia
75 grams unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 cup of milk
Extra self raising flour for dusting
250 grams ricotta cheese
1 cup of frozen blueberries (or other fruit)
Milk to baste

1. Combine flour & 2 Tbs of Natvia in a large bowl. Add butter. Rub until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Make a well in the centre. Add the milk & gently stir with a butter knife until mixture just comes together to form a dough (should look nice and airy).

3. Lightly dust bench with extra flour. Turn out dough. Gently knead until smooth. Roll out into a rectangle approx 25cm x 35 cm.

4. Place ricotta & remaining Natvia in a bowl. Stir until smooth. Spread evenly over dough. Sprinkle with blueberries.

5. Starting from one long edge, roll up dough firmly to form a log. Cut into 12 even slices.

6. Arrange slices, cut side up & side by side (a bit like scones) to form a round on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Brush lightly with milk.

7. Cook in a hot oven (200C) for 25 to 30 mins, or until golden brown.

8. Serve scrolls warm.

The original recipe instructs you to trim the ends of your log before cutting into even slices but I don't like wasting ingredients 

Although recommended to serve warm, the scrolls are delicious recess snacks for school.

When rolling dough don't forget to dust your rolling pin first!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Four Sided Photo Display

I've recently started following quite a few international - non AU or USA - on Instagram and the talent out there is just so amazing...mind blowing.  And so much creativity which I feel has come about due to either the lack of pre-made art/scrapbook supplies OR the inability to afford pre-made supplies that are available.

These amazing ladies are binding their own books to make albums; for themselves & for others.

I encourage you to look further afield when cruising Instagram and even Pinterest for inspiration and fresh ideas.

The texture paste drying

So I decided to challenge myself with my latest photo project.  All my gifts were done & posted for Christmas - this one was purely for me.

Ever since I made my coaster photo set from scratch (back in 2008 before you could buy wood coaster bases from Kaisercraft) I've enjoyed making photo gifts/displays where the pictures on display can be changed or swapped out easily. 

Here you can see one side laid out as the texture paste dries, with no paint added yet, just raw product/paper/board.

The idea for this stand was simply born out of the new Instagram accounts I had started following in the last few months of last year. 

I challenged myself to use packaging scraps, like cardboard backing, and turn it into a photo display.  I could have purchased and used metal hinges but I really wanted to only use supplies in my home that had already been purchased in some form or another.

Watching paint dry.....

I had white cardboard backing from the packaging of a Creative Memories product I had used to make a Christmas gift. The white card made up the main section of my 'canvas' that I planned to display the photos on.

In the picture above you can see the base of my triangle 'frame'.  That base piece of card was cut specifically to size to make it similar proportions to the other two pieces of card.  It was also leftover packaging in a normal cardboard colour.  To the base card I glued two cut to measure pieces of white paper.  They had to be wide enough to allow the whole frame to hinge easily.  Up the top under the clip is two more pieces of white off-cut paper trimmed to size. They just needed to be wide enough to allow the clip to do its job without getting in the way of the decorations that would be added.

...and then it sat like this for weeks :-/

The cardboard need to not only be strong enough to hold up in the triangle position but it also had to bear the weight of the texture paste I added.  I used a brick wall stencil.  I had to let one side dry thoroughly before I could turn it over and do the other side. The plan was to display four photos on four sides, each side decorated slightly differently but harmoniously to the other 3 sides.

Once all of the texture paste had been applied and dried I used a small paint roller to mix a pale blue Kaiser paint with white. I was going for a shabby paint look.  I was very happy with the paint results and it was time to decorate but for some reason my inspiration left me and I stalled out on the decorating front for many weeks.

I would walk into my room, fiddle around with bits and pieces, and then just walk out again without making any progress.

One quiet day just before Christmas I laid out the '1st side' that you see pictured here, but once again I procrastinated and didn't glue it down for many days.  I got annoyed with myself because we had visitors coming for Christmas and I really wanted the pictures to be on display. So I shut my bedroom door one day, the 'canvas' laid out fully with two sides facing me, and started gluing..... up-side-down....

I kid you not. I had been looking at it upside down, somehow forgetting it had to fold upwards to be held in place by the clip *insert eye roll*

So I had to redesign that whole '1st side' based on the fact that the yellow Project Life card and the bit of lace scrap were now glued down the bottom instead of the top..... 

*eye twitch*

Anyway, obviously there are worse things lol so I persevered and of all 4 sides, the first one is my favourite. Both side 1 & 2 contained black and white photos so I focused on using colour, particularly blue and colours that would compliment the blue background (remember I'm colourblind lol)

Side 2 I was not as happy with.  It just didn't feel like it gelled as well as the 1st side. But everyone else on The Committee (Miss 23, MIL, Miss 11 & both boys) loved it so *shrugs*

Sides 3 & 4 were for two colour photographs.  Below is side 4 which I started working on after I planned side 3.  Side 3 was a struggle but after fossicking through my stash I had a clear idea for side 4 so I ran with that one first; planned, glued etc.  I love it. The 'When We Were Young' die cut word from Dusty Attic (purchased from Scrapbook House, Geraldton) tied the whole project together, conveying the nostalgia that I feel for these pictures taken a year ago, for a much loved nephew that I now rarely get to see.

Side 4 above and below.  

Apologies for the quality of the pics, I was experiencing muscle tremors from my Neuro disorder the day that I took them. :-)

Blurry close up :-)

Below is side 3 and appears to be decorated in a similar way to side 1 but I combined the metal work from side 2 and the floral decoration from side 1, to make all four sides cohesive. 

The grey and black paper scraps used for sides 3 & 4 create a great contrast with the colour photos.

The photos themselves are protected inside Creative Memory clear photo sleeves.  I have done this for a few of my photo projects, and unless I use a decoration or something to seal the ends, you can change the pictures out from inside the sleeve over time if you wish but I was pretty solid from the start that these pictures would be staying for good; I love them so much.

It is always a challenge to use floral accents on boy themed pages.

Close up of Heidi Swapp planner accents

So pleased with how it turned out, and how I didn't purchase one item for this project, every piece of paper, flower, accent and ephemera was already in my house/stash. 

I would definitely make a photo gift in the same style again - it can be sent flat for cheaper postage - the only thing I would do differently is not procrastinate so much and finish it quicker!! lol

For video of Miss 23 showing how the sides can be rotated to change the pictures on display go to Just Ali on Facebook.

If you have any questions about product used or processes that I may not have explained clearly just post a comment here or head over to Just Ali on Facebook.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Cup Runneth Over

Recovery was not a smooth as we fist thought.

This is a forgotten blog post from May! :-/

My gratefulness still applies so here it is.....


Home. Safe. Happy.

We are so grateful for the nursing staff at GRH & Dr Oates' surgeon Dr Samuels, whose care for our Maggs was really above & beyond.

He specifically instructed for her to be watched closely & monitored overnight (most of the other morning tonsillectomy kids went home in the arvo) as she had been tachycardic since her Op & so he knew that she was not accepting enough pain relief to make herself comfortable.

He visited her this morning and told her to accept the pain relief and give her little body a break & be comfortable again after such a long time of illness.

She shed one little strong little girl....

Once we got her home, showered & medicated her, her colour returned almost instantly.

We are now all tucked up in bed enjoying our family being close around us. Such a difference to Christmas I could just cry.

My favourite memory is singing to Maggs in recovery to bring her heart rate down to more acceptable levels. The nurses oohed & aahed like they had arrived at the 'happily ever after' part of a beautiful love story lol.

Am very touched my singing has that effect on anyone. :-)

You may notice my fb page quietly slip offline on Monday, for a week or so, as I bunker down with my little family, and focus on keeping things ticking over, school wise, while also caring for Maggs.

Thank you so much everyone for your continued prayers. 

I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

"My cup runneth over." 

Psalm 23:5 KJB abridged.


Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


A Deeper Word

Just like Art Journals, when I first saw Bible Journaling, I didn't get it.

I'm not against writing in your Bible. In fact I'm all for it. I've even used pages from 2nd hand Bibles in my mixed media work & canvases.

But I saw all these painted Bible pages on Instagram & Pinterest and thought "What...?"

Just like that..."What..?" ☺

So after doing some research I found out that you can use any type of Bible but yes there were some purpose made Bibles for Bible Journaling that had a single column of text per page & extra white space at the margins.

I found some great blogs for beginners. However the Bible most commonly recommended was out of stock everywhere except Amazon, and they are selling it for over $100US.

Say it with me again... "What..?"

Thankfully just about every time I browse The Book Depository they have a sale on & worldwide postage is free (yay!).

My order arrived in under 10 days & now these beautiful Journaling Bibles await being wrapped & placed under the Christmas tree this year.

The Beautiful Word Journaling Bible, specifically, is currently available in 3 different styles, the photos of which I'm sharing today, with large print to be released in early 2017.

For myself I went with the faux chocolate leather cover. I'm so keen to get into Bible Journaling that I was okay with the slightly higher outlay for a more special looking Bible. 

As my girls Bibles are gifts & I don't known yet whether they will enjoy it (but I think they will) I went with the less expensive style; the hard cover. Also from what I see other people doing, once you fill a Bible up you start a new one, just like a written or art journal, so I figure if they really get into it, which I hope they will, these won't be their one and only Journaling Bible, just the first of many...

Miss 23's Bible is exactly like mine inside with colour & monochrome illustrations already printed on pages, with plenty of blank space for your own. The style of the illustrations & the nature of the craft is such that you can embellish the existing artwork if you wish or completely paint over it with your own.

For the 3 younger girls I purchased the Beautiful Word Colouring Bible. Inside it is filled with illustrations that are waiting to be coloured. Miss 4 probably won't use hers yet but it will be there for her when she is.

I'm so excited to get started I want to be doing this yesterday, but I am still working on teacher & Christmas gifts. With so much going on in the next few months though Christmas will be here in no time & I am really, really going to enjoy sitting down with my girls over the Christmas holidays & getting my art on...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Photos With Mum

It's universally acknowledged that, more often than not, Mum is the picture taker.

And that of course means that she is not present in many photos with her children unless it's a professional family portrait.

This is why I LOVE selfies in a year when so many people are bagging out on the colossal amount digital images we are creating by the minute, and how many of those are 'vain' selfies of attention seekers, drama queens & narcissists..... O.o

I just seriously love photos, especially of my children, as my mother was not big on taking photos, & when I was young and first had children, it was still a big deal to not only find a half decent camera you could afford, but then to also get them printed.  

Glitter in the bedroom...what WAS I thinking??? :-/
So SHINY!!! :-D
The quality of todays photos are amazing compared to the colour challenged Polaroids I grew up with and the grainy inside shots taken with the wrong film in a point and click analogue camera.

So pretty!!
My two youngest girls & I did so many things during our time down south in the lead up to Christmas, & then in the City over the Christmas period.

In the city it was just the 3 of us; Miss 3, Miss 6 & myself. I took many photos of them exploring Kings Park, their excitement at the amount & variety of playgrounds around, & special time spent with friends & family who were able to visit with us briefly.

I really only took a couple of selfies with the girls. And I'm so glad I did. Together with a selfie of myself & Miss 10 at last years Primary Presentation Night, I've been working on creating 3 special frame 'sets'.

Today I'm sharing pics of the first.

I deliberately worked on Miss 6's first as I wanted her to have it to look upon during her recovery from her recent operation.

All 3 frame 'sets' will be very different, not only reflecting the differences between the girls personalities, but also taking into account the colours in each photo.

2 of the amazing prints I purchased from Dream Big Printables

I also had some prints from Dream Big Printables that I framed and put on her bedside from the night before her Op.

Miss 4 & 6 sleeping soundly next to the newly framed 'be brave'.

Miss 10 asked to decorate her own photo set, meaning it WILL be truly unique compared to the other two.

I LOVE helping my children to craft & create art!!

One down, 2 to go!  Watch this space! ;-)