Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake

I love cheesecake. Love it. Not baked though, only unbaked. Baked seems wrong somehow. It just doesn't work for me. Where was I? I love cheesecake, and for those of you who love cheesecake I'm going to share my very first attempt at my own recipe. It's really nice, you should try it.


Base
1 packet Marie biscuits, crumbed
100g melted butter

Mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter together thoroughly and press into the base of a greased cheesecake tin. Refrigerate.

Filling
1 cup strawberry puree (see instructions below)
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine (or substitute *)
375 grams cream cheese (bring to room temp.)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 and 1/4 cup cream, whipped

For puree - Hull and wash 2 punnets of strawberries, if large cut in half. Using a food processor or suitable replacement, puree the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Leftover puree is wonderful on yoghurt, icecream, even cereal.

Place 1 cup of puree into a small saucepan with the gelatine, caster sugar and lemon juice and stir with a fork over a low heat. You want to heat the ingredients, not cook them. Leave to cool while you:

Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Beat in the cooled strawberry mixture until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream lightly. Pour onto the base and refrigerate until set.

Topping
3/4 cup strawberry puree
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons arrowroot

Warm ingredients together in a small saucepan (once again - just warming, not cooking). Pour on top of set cheesecake and refrigerate until set.

Serve with additional whipped cream if desired.

I hope you enjoy this recipe - as always I'm more than happy to answer questions or receive comments or suggestions. 

* It has come to my attention that some people prefer not to use gelatine so here is a link for suitable alternatives and quantities.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sorry about that, here is the winner...

Things got very busy here over the weekend with a Christmas party and my Stumpwork Assessment today (seems to have gone well!) so I didn't draw the winner on Saturday as promised. Without further ado, the winner is....


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
6 
Timestamp: 2011-11-28 06:03:55 UTC
 

That makes the winner Therese. Congratulations Therese, now you just have to decide who gets her for Christmas :)

Thanks to all who took the time to enter and of course to all of you who are regular readers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Art I'm loving on Flickr



Persuasion - Jane Austen


                                                              Persuasion

Butterfly Wreath Embroidery


                                                              Butterfly Wreath



Squirrel Stumpwork Project


                                                   Squirrel Stumpwork Project

These beautiful embroidery pieces were created by Emily - a self confessed stitchaholic! To see more of her work you can visit her at The Flossbox, she has a lot of patterns, tutes and tips for embroidery and cross stitch.

coloured beehive bookplate
Beehive bookplate

letterpress mini bunting

Letterpress mini bunting

linocut letterpress bookplates
Mushroom bookplate

Narelle from Ruby Victoria Letterpress is one of the reasons I recently bought a set of lino cutting tools and equipment, I just love her work. And I love the unique quality of a linoprint.
Narelle has an Etsy shop and can be found at markets if you're in Tassie.




lone hickory
What can I say about these, possibly the most awesome pieces of wearable art I've ever seen!
Lisa from Lil Fish Studios is my kind of artist. She crafts objects of beauty that are functional. She firstly needlefelts and embroiders her brooches, then she searches her own property for exactly the right mount for each artwork.





The base may be made of wood, a shell, even antler. She handcrafts the base with a saw, drill and sanding.






Inspiring works from lovely ladies, thank you all for sharing your crafts with us :)

Just a reminder that my Christmas giveaway is still running so get in while you still can!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You Yangs


We live pretty close to the You Yangs and it's a fun place to visit with kids. There are quite a few walking tracks and you can brave the steps to the top, which we didn't do this time as we didn't fancy carrying a tired toddler.


Mmm, bush tucker (tree sap)





I never appreciated the Australian landscape in my younger years but I find plenty of beauty and inspiration in it now. I love the uniqueness, the earthy colours, the ability to thrive through drought and of course I love that God made it all for us!

Have a great day and don't forget to enter the giveaway (see last post).


Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas giveaway



I decided not to have a Christmas giveaway this year but then I changed my mind because that's what I do. So, I'm giving away this lovely doll 12 inch doll who is special in a few ways.


Her hair is made from hand dyed yarn (dyed by Nell). Her dress is hand dyed by me, as is her silk cape. Her pants were hand painted by my son. Plus, she's pretty cute! She is waldorf influenced, made with natural materials and stuffed with wool.


The giveaway is open to all who follow this blog (new followers are always welcome :) Just leave a comment. For a second entry please "like" my facebook page and then return here to leave another comment telling me you've done so. Open to international visitors too.
I'll draw on Saturday 26th November. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Linocuts


I love the look of a linocut - the crispness, the multiple skills required to produce a good one and just the whole aesthetic value appeals to me. So, being the inquisitive kind of person I am, I just had to give it a go. Admittedly my first prints look rather amateurish but I'm encouraged that my cutting skills improved with each piece and felt very satisfied at the end of the print process.

The little cottage you see is actually a papercut design from Sharyn Sowell's book Paper Cutting Techniques (a really lovely little book too). I'm very taken by Scherenschnitte and would like to apply similar principles to my linocuts. Practice makes perfect, so off I go to practice!

If you want to know more about the art of linocutting let me know so I can post more information.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Silk ribbon completed piece and a WIP


I completed this kit from Helen Dafter some time ago but didn't know what to do with it. After recently being gifted with this gorgeous box frame by a lovely elderly acquaintance I knew it was perfect (and it just happens to fit perfectly!)


Now, if I was a wealthy woman I wouldn't hold back - silk ribbon would be my embroidery of choice. I just find it so captivating. Unfortunately, it is not the most affordable hobby so I don't indulge very often.


See the little spider making it's way to the web?




This is my WIP - a redwork on linen designed by my husband and me and will be made into a cushion. I may release a pattern of this one too, I'll keep you posted on that :)

Hope you're having a great day, see you soon!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Rhubarb and Custard Crumble


We've been blessed with very healthy and productive rhubarb plants this year! It's taken a while for them to settle in but it seems the weather conditions ie. no more drought are just perfect now. One of our plants was transplanted from my husband's parents farm garden and is very old so it's just wonderful to see it thriving.

It brings back memories of my old Nanna, whom I spent quite a bit of time with in childhood and loved dearly (and still do - at 85 years she is still going).
You were always guaranteed a country home meal at Nanna's and plenty of rhubarb from her extensive and beautiful garden. Rhubarb with custard, rhubarb with icecream and my personal favourite - rhubarb on your morning cereal with a good dollop of thick cream.


I enlisted a little helper for harvesting. She would rather have used them as marching flags or banners but didn't mind the fun of chopping off the big leaves into the compost either. Aren't they huge?!


First the rhubarb stew....
800g rhubarb, chopped (if you can't rustle up that much then 500 and over will do it)
1 apple, skinned and chopped (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
dash of rosewater (optional)
2 tablespoons water

Cook in heavy based saucepan over medium heat with lid on. Give it a stir, then turn the heat to low. Keep cooking and stirring every minute or so until soft.

Next the custard....
Most of the time I cheat and used custard powder. If you do this, just follow the instuctions on the packet to make a quantity with 2 tablespoons of powder.
Otherwise, you can make your own from scratch.

Don't forget the topping....
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
60 grams butter

Chop the butter into the mixed dry ingredients then rub with your fingers until there are no chunks of butter left and it resembles breadcrumbs. An alternative is to use your food processor.

Now assemble....
Layer the rhubarb in a casserole dish. Layer the custard on top. Sprinkle with topping.
Cook in a 180 degree celsius oven for about 25 minutes.

Serve with icecream while warm or hot.

Bon appetite!




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Honeyeater in watercolour pencil and ink

 You may recall the photos I finally nabbed last week. So here is my first attempt at capturing the little guy on paper.
My scanner doesn't do a very good job of reproducing images so it looks worse here than the actual piece. I left the background plain purposely because I wanted to focus on the honeyeater.
I used my watercolour pencils then finished off with black ink on some cheap watercolour paper (because it was all I had!)


This was my first rough sketch. It's so long since I drew or painted anything that I wanted to challenge myself by making the first sketch as uncomplicated and fast as possible. I was pleased it only took a few minutes and this sketch became the basis for the watercolour.

Next time I'll try putting in some background, and then there is the embroidery idea, not to mention the linocut......



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Too cheap craft and a princess in a pretty dress


Firstly, the little princess!


In her new summer dress - Miss Madeline pattern and fabric from a swap from ages ago that has been languishing in the cupboard.

I took one of the girls along to the annual Werribee Craft Festival for a look and was pleased to see it looking really well presented and a good variety of crafts on offer. Something that really surprised me though, was the prices many of the stallholders were selling their goods for. So cheap! Too cheap!

Having sold my own crafts I can't begin to figure out how these people can turn a profit. Which leads me to ask again - what is the difference between art and craft? For me they both run together in beautiful harmony, lending to each other and often indistinguishable. Both require skill, talent, money, time and can be really hard work! So why is craft perceived as something without value, while art pieces are sought after and highly paid for? 


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, perhaps you have a totally different view?


Happy weekend to you all, it's a beautiful day here :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gotcha!


One of my favourite birds is the New Holland Honeyeater and we have plenty of them in our backyard where they often nest.


Their most favoured past time is to torment our long suffering cat by following him around the garden and making as much noise as possible.
They're quite daring in how close they are willing to get to the dear cat in order to shout in his ear.

 I've been trying to get some good photos but they are always so nimble and here one minute gone the next. This morning (sulky cat under my arm) I got the shots I wanted. I'm sure kitty will forgive me!


My next aim is to be quick enough to capture him, his friends and relations all lined up on the fence in a chorus, they're really so comical and silly.

For now I'm getting out my drawing pad and watercolour pencils and if that goes well, the trusty needle and thread in an attempt to further capture this funny little fellow.