Monday, December 16, 2013

What Sets Your Heart Free?

A little while ago while working on my canvases I prayed about a different approach, a new saying or verse to use for any non believers I wanted to gift a canvas to; something that still held meaning but not as confronting maybe.

Anyway I walked into Roma Gifts (on Marine Terrace) one day & found these little dishes


I think they are meant to be for placing used tea bags on or small jewellery.

The words just unleashed a yearning in my heart & then almost straight away I was reminded of one of my all time favorite bible verses.

"I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."

I knew straight away this was the answer I had prayed for.


I had a plan to make a canvas for my SIL for Christmas.


I decided from the beginning to try and match or complement the dish, which I was also giving her.


The first background I painted didn't turn out right. My daughter loved it & it WAS very pretty but somehow the colour scheme turned out wrong & so I put it aside and started again. 


And I'm SO glad I did! 


The second time round I paid much more attention to what I was doing & the results are AWESOME!


I pray that my SIL & whoever else views this canvas feels the same yearning I did when I read those words; but not just hears them, that they will feel compelled to find an answer!


So tell me....What sets YOUR heart free??

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cakes to Celebrate Love & Life!


I don't buy recipe books much anymore, preferring to make my own out of recipes I gather from online &  store in easy wipe clean display folders, but whenever I go to Target I can't resist checking the shelves hoping to scan a bargain...and it does happen!


This book was on the shelf for $45 but scanned at only $5! So of course I grabbed 3; one for myself, one for my SIL & one for a volunteer baker at the shop we ran.

Today's recipe I'm sharing is from this book with a bit of my own tweaking.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

2 cups castor sugar
1 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp of salt
2 eggs at room temp
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup of boiling water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Prepare two 12 cup muffin trays with paper cases.

In the bowl of an electric mixer mix together all the dry ingredients.

In a bowl or large plastic measuring jug mix together all the wet ingredients EXCEPT the boiling water.

Add the wet ingredients (minus the boiling water) to the dry ingredients and beat on a medium speed for two minutes.

Stir in boiling water - the batter should be very runny.

Use a ladle to pour batter equally amongst the paper cups.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Leave to cool completely before icing.


CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM ICING

125 grams butter softened
2/3 cup cocoa powder *
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

With an electric mixer beat butter & cocoa on a low speed.

Adding a little of each at a time, add the icing sugar & milk. Beat on a medium speed until it is smooth & is of a spreadable consistency.

* I added extra cocoa powder at this stage as my icing was much much paler than the icing in the picture for the original recipe, where as the cupcake itself had come out just as dark as the picture.

Finally add vanilla.


The plastic ring on my icing gun that holds my large 1M tip broke as I went to ice these so I had to make do with a smaller tip :-/

This is a very rich, moist & fluffy cupcake.

ENJOY!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Washi....A sanity saver!

I wasn't originally fussed either way in regards to Washi Tape. When I first took time to have a look at some at one of my local Scrapbooking stores, the only ones available were all black & white.

It was only when people started posting all these uses for it on Arty Farty Peeps & Pinterest that I took a look on eBay to get an idea of exactly what was out there. 

Well there was heaps of variety. I almost bought some from eBay but around the same time I was considering, the afore mentioned shop got a new shipment in promising lots of variety, so I went to check it out.....and left with two hands full of Washi Tape! :-/



But I didn't just purchase randomly. An idea had already started to form in my mind. I make a lot of photo gifts for the grandparents. And although I try to mix it up a bit, I end up frequently using chipboard albums or shapes; partly because I still have a stash from my Kaiser prize I won in 2008 & partly because they are well priced, cute & post well. 



In fact for the project I'm sharing today, I originally had canvas in mind. Picture me standing in Spotlight with every available space in the pram wedged with blank canvases! And then common sense kicked in. Every year I plan & make these great craft items & forget that it is a nightmare trying to post them. I am freed up a little this year as we're driving to Perth for Christmas but I still have to post a parcel to Tennant Creek, NT. So I talked myself down & challenged myself to come up with a more post friendly way to achieve the same idea; a chipboard album.



Now here's the thing; with the few chipboard albums I have worked on, I really disliked having to paint the edges before covering the 'pages' with paper. It's a small thing I know but it seems like such a time wasting activity. And this is where the Washi Tape came in. I visualised using the Washi Tape around the edge of the chipboard and then gluing down the paper over the top. I already had a pastel colour theme in mind so I had purchased accordingly, with a couple of extras.



I'm happy to say the the Washi Tape behaved exactly as I wanted it to! It was quick, easy & stress free. :-)



My original idea had been to put the kids footprint or handprint on a canvas together with a photo of the child. I think I've done a really good job of reinterpreting my original idea.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Daughter of the Star Breather!

I came across a beautiful picture whilst browsing Pinterest that said "Daughter of the star breather" and referenced Psalm 33:6



I'm not as familiar with Psalms as some of the other books in the Bible so I looked it up.



"By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth." NIV



"The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born." NLT



How beautiful. 



I knew straight away I could use this quote for some of my girl canvases & I got started on two before I had finished my last "Called by Name" canvas.



These canvases turned out just as I had imagined them. I altered some of my Scrapbooking supplies so they would fit the look I was chasing.



One canvas was to be my very own, as the quote had really spoken to me & the verse had too.



The other was for a friend of mine who I wanted to bless in a special way.



My friend loves sugar skulls & the 'girl' is meant to represent her, so thankfully I had the perfect Kaiser paper from one of their 'boy' lines.



I considered taking the time to hand colour the skulls into sugar skulls but I didn't want them to dominate the canvas. So I used dimensional magic & kindy glitz to make them pop off the dress & I am so happy with the results.


When I gave it to my very surprised friend she said "I would TOTALLY wear this dress!" 

Awesome :-)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Toblerone and Almond Brownies

3/4 cup slivered almonds
200 grams butter
2 x 100 gram Toblerone chocolate bars
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/4 plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 170 degrees or 150 fan forced.

Lightly oil a 18 x 28 cm slice tin & line with non stick paper.

Spread the almonds onto an oven tray & bake for 7 mins or until golden.

Set aside to cool.

Place the butter & 3/4 of the Toblerone into a small saucepan. Stir mixture over low heat until melted & smooth.

Remove from heat & cool lightly.

Chop the remaining Toblerone into peices. 

Using electric beaters, beat the eggs & sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3 mins until light & foamy.

Add the chocolate mixture & beat breifly to combine. Sift flours & cocoa powder over bowl, fold in. Then fold in the chopped Toblerone & toasted almonds.

Pour brownie mixture into the prepared tin & bake for 30 mins.

Cool in the pan then refrigerate for 4 hrs until firm. Lift out & dust with icing sugar before cutting into small squares to serve.

Brownies will store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.


Called by Name (2)

A special canvas for a special friend of mine.





God is so good. I asked God for a message to put on my girl canvases, to make them more than just pretty & decorative. He gave me Isaiah 43:1.



After I had made these two last canvases, God gave me another idea for a new uplifting message & I briefly thought "I wish I'd had this new idea before making Tiffany's canvas." But this is where God is so awesome.



Isaiah 43:1 holds a special meaning for my friend. So she was very very happy to receive the canvas I had made just for her, after God had put her on my heart.



Recently I have prayed to God "Lord how can I create something so beautiful & still reach out with a message to my non believing friends, without causing offence?"



I cannot wait to show you the results based on the answer He gave me!! :-D


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Called By Name

When I am struck by inspiration it really is a 'sit up straight in bed in the middle if the night' kind of thing.



God gave me such a clear vision for my latest canvas & I got started on it straight away. But then for some reason, after I had created & painted the back ground as I had seen it in my mind, I stalled out. 



I knew what came next but just....didn't have the enthusiasm to do it...! Anyway about two weeks dragged by & I gave myself a pep talk & a bit of a kick in the pants.



 The remaining elements only took me two days. I have planned to do more in a similar style so my goal next time is to get it done in 3 days. It's possible!



And I LOVE the end result. Even though I have made this canvas for a particular young lady, I considered keeping it for myself. It is just beautiful.


I have at least two more planned as Christmas gifts. 



As with my Tree of Life canvases, I am just so thankful to God when He provides me with such a clear concept :-)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Reflective....

Have been a bit quiet online lately recovering from pneumonia & battling some personal demons let's say. 



But still been super busy with the kids as always; baking & crafting etc. I have also been battling to increase my personal fitness again for most of this year, something which has obviously been hampered by catching pneumonia :-(



The girls worked on competition entries for the Premiers Reading challenge during this term. It was challenging explaining to Miss 4 about competitions & how you don't 'go there' to where it is.


One of my boys went on his first camp which was to Shark Bay. 



We also let our kittens out of their run, as they're not really kittens any more, so we've been busy keeping all the animals flea free so they can come inside.



I think my emotional reflections lately have been brought on by working on Project Life; which at the moment involves sorting through old Polaroids from my childhood. My Dad passed away in 2009 and I deliberately don't look at photos much any more, which is not necessarily a good thing either....



Also one of our cats is getting quite old which has me feeling very sad; thinking about how quickly the years have passed  & dissecting whether I've used the years wisely, especially in regards to my children.



Anyway, 3rd term holidays are here. School holidays are my favourite time of the year & my expectations are high. Lots of walks with the kids, lots of craft, Singstar & naps!  Where ever you are in the world as you read this; hug your children tight, never refrain from telling them how much you love them & never grow tired of drinking in the sight of them. Xx


Sunday, September 1, 2013

MY Girls....

I wanted to do a very special school holiday project with my girls; and we did!


I helped Miss 4 & Miss 8 complete their own girl canvases. 


Originally they were going to consist of one 'girl' & one 'older girl' representing me, but as we worked there was a desire to increase the bond between two of my 'middle' children, so we changed it to the two girls & me per canvas.


The two girls each chose their own backing colour, splatter colours & the paper for their own girls dress.


They also painted their own canvas although I did provide some assistance to Miss 4 with the splattering part.


As these canvases were going to be displayed in each little girls room I decorated them just a touch more than I normally would.


To complete the girl bonding experience my eldest girl, Miss newly 20, put together the corner clusters for me; the process of putting them together got pushed back a little due to a pesky flu that would not leave me alone, so my big girl helped me in the final stages to get it DONE before the Arty Farty Peeps afternoon tea to be held at our house the next afternoon.


I'm so happy with what we achieved in a project that ended up spread over a few weeks, and the girls love them!


Pride of place in our home!! :-D