Saturday, February 26, 2011

Softies for Christchurch - some patterns you might like!

Thought I would just quickly share some free downloadable patterns I have found on the internet with the Softies for Christchurch collection in mind.

Here is a really cute pattern for a softie bunny (pictured above) that is a free download and is easy to make.  Click here to go through to the site and download the pattern.     I've just finished one and will be making a few more.

Also, Sarah at has a fantastic free doll pattern on her site.  She also has an Etsy shop where you can purchase, for around USD9, some fantastic PDF patterns for dolls as well.  (I just purchased the one pictured above, and look forward to using it for the softie drive and for gifts in the future as well).

And for knitters, here is a gorgeous free pattern for a teddy bear.

This page is worth checking out too - lots of patterns for cute and quirky softies, of which I think this hedgehog has to be one of my favourites.

**Just found this one...  A gorgeous bunny plushie which can be made in an hour.  It is usually made from recycled t-shirts, but perhaps for the purposes of the softie collection, new materials would be preferable.

Happy sewing...

LM x

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Softies for Christchurch...

A fellow Kiwi blogger Leonie, is organising a hand-made softie collection for the children of Christchurch, NZ, affected by the devastating earthquake that happened there on the 22nd of February.

Click on the picture above to go to her post which has all the details, and if you can, please get involved, and spread the word.  I am starting on a dolly today, and even though I am so far away from my home country, it feels good to be able to do something.

If you'd like to donate to the relief effort you can do so online at:


LM x

Monday, February 14, 2011

Belgium Biscuits in an Origami Basket...

The other day, with Valentine's day just around the corner I thought I should maybe start thinking about what I am going to do for my Valentine, rather than which projects I'm going to do for my blog!

Mr Muck likes Belgium biscuits, or at least he used to when he was a kid (he used to make them every saturday).   They are spicy biscuits made with cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and cocoa, sandwiched together with raspberry jam and then topped with a raspberry glaze.

So I made him these home-baked Belgium biscuits and packaged them up in a nifty little origami basket.

The basket was a happy discovery from the other day.  I had baked some scones to take in to a friend in hospital and wanted to find something to put them in that she could then just discard afterwards (with a newborn I'm sure she has better things to do than wash and return containers!).

So I had a look around the internet and discovered these origami Easter baskets, which I made without the handle, and out of a larger, sturdy piece of construction paper to get the size I wanted.

I used these instructions, and a piece of paper measuring 34 x 34cm (13" x 13").  This makes a bowl which is the perfect size to fill with baked goodies - four cupcakes would fit in here perfectly - an idea I will have to revisit sometime!  After said goodies have been consumed, the bowl can be re-used or simply flattened and placed in the recycling.

And for those of you who would like to try and make Belgium biscuits, my recipe is below.  It is a hash-together of a couple of different recipes I had, tweaked heavily, and they turned out pretty good.  There are hundreds of Belgium biscuit recipes on the internet, so if you haven't tried them, find one you like and give them a go!

Happy Valentines Day to you all!

LM xx

Belgium Biscuits

For the biscuits:
225g softened butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 large egg
3 cups plain flour
1 & 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps mixed spice
2 tsps ginger
2 tsps cocoa powder

For the filling:
Raspberry jam

For the icing:
1 cup sifted confectioners (icing) sugar
A drop of pink food colouring
A drop of raspberry essence

For the pink sugar (optional - just for prettiness!):
Granulated sugar
Pink food colouring

To make the biscuits, cream butter and sugar together for two minutes, or until creamy.

Add in egg and mix.

In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together, including the spices and cocoa.

With your mixer on low, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until a dough is formed.  It is ready when the ball of dough almost starts to clean the bowl of the mixer.

Break the dough into two pieces and roll them into sausage shapes.  Cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, (but even longer is better).

Once chilled and firm,  roll out the dough out to about 3-4mm thick and cut into desired shapes.

Place the shapes on cookie sheets lined with baking (parchment) paper.

Bake at 175 degrees (350 fahrenheit) for 8 - 15 minutes (depending on the size of the biscuits they will take varying amounts of time).  They are done when they are just starting to brown around the edges.  They may still feel a little soft when they come out of the oven, but they will harden on cooling.

Once completely cooled, sandwich the biscuits together with raspberry jam.

For the icing, place the confectioners sugar in a bowl.  Add enough water to create a runny icing.  Add essence and colouring. Spread over the biscuits with the back of a teaspoon or pipe using a small round nozzle.  If piping, pipe the outline first, then wait a couple of minutes and "flood" the inside with icing.  The outline will act as a dam.  The icing will take a couple of hours to completely set, so be careful when stacking the biscuits up in a tin.

For the pink sugar, place 6 or 8 tbs of granulated sugar in a ziplock bag and add 1-2 drops of pink food colouring.  Seal the bag and rub the sugar with your fingers to distribute the colour evenly.  You can keep this in the sealed bag for a week or so.

The biscuits are best eaten on the day, but will last in a sealed biscuit tin for about a week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Five Sweet Valentine's Day Projects...

I've been having a wee nosey around the internet and thought I'd put together a Valentine's craft round-up featuring some of my favourite finds!  Just click on any of the pictures below to go through to the original post.

Heart paper chain and felt garland by Betz White at


Love You bookmarks at  


Free printable Valentine's cupcake wrappers at


A downloadable template for a popcorn Valentine at  


Matchbox Valentines at



Mum's Kitchen...

I just got back from an amazing three weeks in New Zealand and one of the things I enjoy most when I go home is just hanging out in the kitchen with my mum.

Icecream-in-a-cone cupcakes - see below for details.

This trip was no exception.  I also offered to bring some cupcakes to a friend's little girl's party, so there was a little baking to be done in addition to the evening meals.

The photo at the top was my mum's amazing passata which she made by slow-roasting tomatoes from her garden with onions, garlic, peppers and herbs and then whizzed it up in her trusty Cuisinart.  I loved the colours so much I said "stop!  Let's take a photo!".  We started having so much fun taking photos of the food... here are some more...

Slow-roasted warm vege salad...

Fresh herbs from the garden to make...

...Garlic and herb pide...

Miss S's "Funny Chicken" (Chicken cooked on a hooded BBQ over a can of beer).

I found these really cute scallop-edged cupcake cases in NZ and used my easy vanilla cupcake recipe to make the cupcakes for little Gabby who was turning 4!  

The ones in the little scalloped patty pans were destined to be "Strawberries and cream" cupcakes, so I bought a little red and green fondant and moulded some little strawberries to sit atop the vanilla buttercream swirl.  Mmmmmmm....

For the icecream-in-a-cone cupcakes, I made twelve mini cupcakes then peeled the cupcake cases off.  I put each one in a flat-bottomed icecream cone, piped a swirl of buttercream on top and topped them off with sprinkles and wafers (actually I forgot to take the wafers on the day, how annoying!)

If you want to make them, I would suggest that you sandwich the cupcake into the cone with some buttercream as one or two did fall over en-route and the cupcakes fell out, squishing the icing.  Nevermind though, squished or not, they went down a treat!

LM x

Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Valentine Freebie...

I stumbled across these cute vintage Valentine cup wrappers over at

They are a free printable, and I can't wait to make up some of these for Miss S's little friends.  Just click on the picture above to go to the post.

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