Monday, 30 April 2012

Huzaah for colouring!

I've added a few new pics to Colouring Pages - including these two:

Both of theses pages are drawings from my portfolio, and originally looked like this:

 I've just spent all day basically 'de-colouring' so that they work as black and white pictures to colour in :P 

Worth it.

The bottom one is titled 'The Magic of Books', and was my first attempt at using my graphics tablet. It took me longer than I care to admit to complete...

And that's about all for today, cos I'm ridiculously distracted my Word Rescue. Does anyone remember that game?! It. Is. Awesome. And my husband's just found it on his computer. So I'm off to slime gruzzles with a book worm.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Random Photo Day!

It's Sunday, and that means it's Random Photo Day.

Today I present you with this...

This isn't nearly as violent towards animals as it looks.

My husband (then fiancĂ©e) and I were on a Moose Tour of Canada ('Moose' was the name of the touring company, we didn't do a tour of Canada's greatest mooses or anything. Yes, I said mooses. Deal with it) and we went to this awesome drive through animal park thing. There we met this guy, and about a dozen of his friends. We opened up the back window of our tour bus and fed a few carrots to him. I managed to accidentally take this photo just as he was biting down on a carrot our friend had given him. 

It does kinda look like he just got bopped on the head, though, huh? :P

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?


Absorbent and yellow and porous is he!


If nautical nonsense - ahh, you know the rest.

So here be my first attempt at a Spongebob cake. I thought I'd talk like a pirate, what seeing as Spongebob lives in the ocean. Arrrggghhh.

Aaaand back to reality. Or as close to reality as I get. I can't really give any kind of tutorial with this one, I'm afraid, as I really just copied off a Spongebob pic I found off the net. BUT I also made this handy grid that you can print out to use as a guide:

Pretty neat, huh? 

As usual, I used a basic cake recipe, covered it in buttercream icing, then set to work with my fondant (and as usual, I used Orchard's ready made). I made his pupils and eyelashes out of flattened licorice I found lying around in the kitchen cupboard. Hmmm... I hope that's still ok to eat...

Friday, 27 April 2012

Mr. Spitballs

So my husband and I were hanging around the apartment the other day when we hear this almighty HOCK.  Someone, somewhere in our apartment block was hocking up a massive loogie. Rob was visibly amused/surprised by this.  I, however, was not.

We’ve only been in our tiny (but lovely) student apartment a few weeks now, and Rob spent the first week visiting family back in Perth. Which meant I had a whole week to get used to the sights and sounds of our new home all by myself. And I soon learnt that Mr. Spitballs, as he shall now be affectionately called, was an active member of the Neighbourhood Symphony.

But this just happened to be the first time Rob that had heard Mr. Spitballs in action. I quickly explained that he was a new sound effect in the soundtrack of our lives, and we laughed to ourselves at how any healthy person could even make that noise, let alone on a regular basis.

Then a thought struck me. Due to the location of our apartment, Mr. Spitballs would have to live somewhere above us, and that meant…

Me: Hey – what if he’s spitting into our courtyard?
Rob: I was just thinking that. He could be aiming for us right now.
Me: That hypothetical bastard.
Rob: I am so hypothetically angry right now.

And then we started talking about Imgur.

And that is usually where conversations with my husband end up.

PS: I’m like 97.8% sure Mr. Spitballs is not spitting into our courtyard. But in the time it took me to type this he’s hocked another massive loogie. Who has this much phlegm?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Yoshi's Island

Da DA, da DA! Da da DAA da dum da DAAA!!!

That was obviously the Jurassic Park theme tune. Just in case you didn’t know.

But you know what’s even better than Jurassic Park? NOTHING, I hear you cry. And you’re right. Nothing in this world can rival either the book or film. But I think this might come close…

You’re welcome, internet.

I finally thought of a way to meld my love for both Jurassic Park and Super Mario.  I’m so at peace right now.

This funky design is for sale as t-shirts and stickers on redbubble.com

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The lamppost from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of the most iconic images from my childhood. I first read the book when I was six. We 'studied' it at school, which at Year 2 level meant having the teacher read out small excerpts, watching the cartoon film version and making paper wardrobes.  

Snow for a small child in Western Australia is a thing of dreams, something that only exists in the illustrations of fairy tales. So to walk through a wardrobe and find the snow-covered land of Narnia was the most incredible and magical thing I could imagine. I spent a large portion of my childhood testing the backs of wardrobes. Just in case. 

Inevitably, I went to the school library to loan The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for myself... and found the biggest book I'd ever seen. It was black and musty, with yellow pages and tiny writing. I had never held a book like this in my hands before. I took it home and was overwhelmed by the magical world that existed within it. But I was also six, and it was far too advanced for me. It took me weeks and weeks and multiple loans to read it all, and even then I didn't really understand it. But it was the start of a beautiful relationship with an incredible story, and to this day it remains one of my all-time favourite books. 

It was inevitable then, that I should one day make this:

And it is super easy to make.

Just bake a cake as normal, frost with buttercream icing, then roll out some fondant (I use Orchard White Icing, which you can pick up from the supermarket for under $4).

The easiest way to cover a cake with fondant is to use your rolling pin: pick the fondant up by wrapping it over the pin, and then simply unroll it over the cake to cover. Gently flatten and trim as needed - I would give you more instruction on these finicky details if I actually had anything of relevance to say, but the truth is I don't follow any techniques or guides, I just kinda do stuff and hope it turns out...

Anyway... Use a piping bag to pipe icing into snowballs to cover the cake (your basic mix of icing sugar and water will do the trick - and work as a glue to stick your lamppost together).

And now, the lamppost...

And it's as easy as that! Well, it's as easy as colouring a whole bunch of fondant grey, rolling into random shapes, sticking together, possibly skewering, then painting a giant sugary tooth in with yellow and orange food colouring... which will run, but it's totally cool cos it makes it look more like fire. Well, that's what I tell myself, anyway.

This is the first Narnia themed treat I've made, and it definitely won't be the last!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Rainy Tuesday

I had some big plans for today's post... But when I woke up and it was pouring down with rain outside I thought my time was better spent sat in bed, eating Nutino on toast and watching Murder She Wrote.

Incidentally the best Murder She Wrote ever, by the way: Ireland. Ghosts. Lost treasure. Dungeons. Jessica Fletcher had her hands full in this one, I can tell you.

Oh yeah, I should probably mention I have an insane obsession with crime dramas. Seriously, I watch everything from Criminal Minds to Rosemary and Thyme

But anyway, I'm digressing. Eventually I got around to getting some work done. And then I made enchiladas for lunch. And then my husband and I ended up going to the zoo. 

See, we live a 10 minute walk away from Melbourne Zoo. How cool is that?! And we love the zoo, so one of the first things we did when we moved here was join FOTZ (Friends of the Zoo). It cost us about $65 each, and gives us free entry to Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, Taronga Zoo in Sydney and Perth Zoo for a year as well as 15% off at all the zoo shops.  

That's a lot of zoo.

And that's where we found ourselves this afternoon. It's where we find ourselves a lot.

Right about now you might be wondering why we went on a rainy day... Well, 2 reasons.
1 - the animals always seem to be super active when the weather's bad. No idea why, but there it is.
2 - less people. Walking around there today it felt like our own private zoo.

And so, since I got distracted by zoo animals, today's real post will be up tomorrow. Here's a sneak peek:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in cake form!

Well... the lamppost, anyway. I was trying to think of a nice, simple way to represent the book on cake (I mean, who hasn't done that, right?) when I came up with this. But more on that tomorrow. Now I'm going to weigh up buying pizza for dinner (cos it's perfect lazy, rainy day food) over cooking food we already have  in the house (since we're pretty strapped for cash and are meant to be trying to save money)...

You know what? Pizza wins.

Damn it! Every time! Where are you, will power?!

Monday, 23 April 2012

A snapshot of married life

I was walking past Rob earlier as he was sat at his computer, when he grabs me and sits me down on his lap for a cuddle. He then looks up at me and says ‘I farted. I'm sorry.’ I give him a dirty look and go to get the hell away, at which point he wraps his arms around me tight and whispers ‘smell it.’

And this is my life.

In less disturbing news, new photos of Wiley have been added for those of you that can't get enough of stuffed sheep posed in holiday photos.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Random Photo Day!

Good day to you, and welcome to Random Photo Day!

I thought I’d use every Sunday to share a random photo with you, whether it be from my personal collection, or something awesome I’ve found on the interwebs.

To kick things off, I present to you… Smudge!

I still giggle (and freak out slightly) every time I look at this. This is a photo of my cousin’s cat Smudge, and seriously, isn't that exactly River's expression when she whispers 'reavers!' at the start of Serenity?? I mean, seriously!! This cat may be a psychic.

And, just because it’s the first Sunday post ever, you guys get another.
A bearded man holding a kitten:

(Please excuse the potato).
This is my husband, Rob. Looking uber serious while holding the world’s tiniest cat.

And now I'm off on another whirlwind adventure...
To make some chocolate cupcakes.
Awww yeah.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Harry Potter cupcakes continued...

Alrighty! Here’s how to decorate these four cutesy Harry Potter cupcakes.

Obviously, you need to make cupcakes and buttercream icing first. That would help. Once they’re established, spread icing over cooled cupcakes – don’t go too near the edge or you might end up with icing poking out from under your fondant. And nobody wants that, that’s just rude. 

Speaking of fondant, I cheated and used Orchard Ready Made White Icing, but in my defence I'm really lazy and that stuff was amazingly easy to use. Plus, I double and triple checked the ingredients: no sign of palm oil, people. No sign! You just can't lose!! 

And now for the ‘how to’ part. I sort of suck at explaining this kind of stuff with any level of brevity, so here’s an illustrated guide to make it seem less arduous:

And you’re done!

Kudos to you, Harry Potter cupcake fan. You have now successfully deciphered my weird-as-hell guide and created something tasty and adorable. I suggest basking in this victory a moment before sitting down to watch your favourite Harry Potter film and eating your creations.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Cupcakes = happiness

Here's a nice and simple cake/cupcake recipe I made up when I had just moved to Melbourne, didn't have the internet connected (so no way of googling recipes), and didn't have a scale. Wait... We've been here 3 weeks and I still don't have a scale. Or a rolling pin, for that matter. I should get onto that. 

This recipe is what I used to make my Harry Potter cupcakes. Due to the length of this post, I'll add the decoration guides tomorrow!

I should also probably warn you that while I love baking, I'm not exactly... professional... when it comes to how I bake. Just keep that in mind and don't judge me.

Bung everything together.
Or, if you want to be pedantic about it, soften the butter in the microwave and stir in sugar til creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla essence, then fold the flour in alternately with milk. Simple! 

But bunging everything together works just as well. It is practically impossible to stuff up this recipe.
(Please, no one take that as a challenge...)

For a cake:
Pour into normal sized cake tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes at 180°c.
For cupcakes:
Pour into patty pans, filling halfway, then bake for 20 minutes at 180°c. 

For chocolate cake/cupcakes:
Add ½ cup cocoa and an extra ½ cup of sugar.

And voila! But who wants to eat cake or cupcakes plain? Weird people, that's who. So let's ice this thing:

Soften the butter and add icing sugar (powdered sugar if you’re American) bit by bit until you get that awesome 'frosting' consistency. Add milk, and possibly icing sugar, as and if it's needed.  

If you can't tell, I don't usually measure things. I just kinda chuck everything in together and hope for the best. 60% of the time it works every time. And I like those odds.

And now for the hippie rant...
For those that don't know, unsustainable palm oil plantations in Indonesia are killing thousands of Orangutans every year. But palm oil, especially the unsustainable kind, is crazy cheap, and thus one of the most commonly used oils in the world. It's in everything from margarine and potato chips to cleaning products and face creams. The big problem for consumers? It's not usually labelled. Palm oil is most often listed as vegetable oil, along with all these other things, so how are we meant to know what the hell we're buying?

I tend to avoid anything with vegetable oil in it just to be on the safe side (which is really hard to do), but for those times when junk food cravings kick in and I'm no longer strong enough for avoidance, I use the Ethical Consumer Guide to know what's ok to buy.

You can check out www.zoo.org.au/PalmOil to find out more.
Ok, hippie rant over. What are you all still doing here? Make yourself some cake and eat til your sick. (Because, as we all know, this is the only way to eat cake. My husband and I may have eaten 14 cupcakes between us in 2 days. That's a good effort, and I'm a little bit proud. And also slightly ill. But also super full of energy. Weird, right?)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Harry Potter cupcakes

Hi there! Welcome to my blog :)

I should say right now: this blog has nothing to do with trees. Or quandongs. Or quandong trees. I just liked the sound of it.

When I first came up with the idea of writing a blog, I couldn’t decide what it should be about. Eventually it dawned on me: why don’t I make my blog about EVERYTHING? Well, everything I’m interested in, anyway. So if you’re into colouring, well travelled sheep, decorated desserts, cartoons and dismembered zombie limbs, you’ve come to the right place. 

That will all make sense to you later, I promise.

Anyhoo, I thought I'd kick off with some Harry Potter cupcakes:

All together now...

Hedwig is my favourite. But you know what's funny? The reality of the situation I'd created didn't set in until my husband went 'can I eat Hedwig?' And that's when I realised 'oh my God. I've created Hedwig with the express purpose of eating her.' While I was contemplating the kind of monster I had become, my husband took Hedwig and, sticking out his tongue and making an elongated 'yeeegh' noise, slowly licked her eyeball.

We then devoured her pretty quickly cos those cupcakes were  
damn tasty. 

I'll have the cupcake recipe and decoration details in the next couple of posts :)

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