Spring Green

Over the weekend we had a night away catching up with family. On our way we came across this row of trees and had to stop. I still can’t get over how green the grass and new leaves on the trees were.

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PHOTOS BY MAYA PEARSON & KATHERINE SEPPINGS

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Winter Skies

We’re pretty much saying to goodbye to winter where I am, and these few days over twenty degrees have reminded me of the hot weather I dread. Can’t say I’m not looking forward to getting out the dresses I haven’t worn for seven months or warm evenings with ice cream. But the glory of summer wears off once it hits over 30 degrees. So here are a few images I took in the winter months which remind me of what I’m already starting to miss.

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PHOTOS BY Maya Pearson

Day at the Docklands

Last weekend we took a trip to the Docklands, Melbourne. After much confusion on how to get there, we made it! Even though it was cloudy, windy, sunny, confusing weather, I had a really lovely time and going on the Melbourne Star was definitely the highlight of the day. We could see the city, the dockyards, Port Phillip Bay with all its yachts and it was also nice to take in all the little things too. The view of Melbourne was beautiful and it put a smile on my face.

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PHOTOS BY Maya Pearson & Katherine E Seppings

Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

Orange and Poppy Seed Cake_20140320_0001

Here is a simple recipe (with no butter!) for one of my favourite cakes.

Cake
2 cups of Cake flour [you can use plain flour and subtract 2 level tbsp’s of flour for each cup used in recipe]
1 tsp of Baking powder
1 tsp of Baking soda
1/4 tsp of Salt
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of Caster sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
1/2 cup of Sunflower oil
300 ml of Sour cream
1/2 of Poppy seeds

Icing
150 g of Cream cheese
1 cup of Icing sugar
1 tbsp of orange juice

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and mix to combine.
In a large bowl beat the eggs, caster sugar and orange zest with an electric mixer for 5 minutes on high, until thick and pale. Turn the speed to low and add the oil and all dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Fold in the sour cream and poppy seeds.
Pour batter into cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

To make the icing, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the icing sugar a little at a time. Add enough orange juice to give you a spreadable consistency. I added 1/4 tsp of orange essence for more orange flavour.
Spread the icing over the cooled cake and you’re done!

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Orange and Poppy Seed Cake_20140320_0001-1

Valentine Heart Biscuits

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Ingredients
115g butter
55g caster sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract
150g plain flour
25g cornflour

Icing
4 tbsp water
250g icing sugar
Food colouring, to decorate

Method
Mix the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract until just evenly mixed. Stir in the flour and cornflour. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 30 minutes.
Roll out to the thickness of a $1 coin and cut out different sized heart shapes. Bake at 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 for 10 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Make the icing sugar and divide into small bowls to add pink and red food colouring to the mixture. Now it’s time to decorate your heart biscuits!

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To give biscuits as a gift, pack in a DIY box, which you can print here. To make the box more interesting you could decorate it or print it out on some pretty card.

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Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Origami Bird Mobile

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Materials
Embroidery ring (Inside ring)
Embroidery thread
Scissors
Needle
Assorted origami birds – I found out how to make these birds here, here and here.

Instructions
Step One:
Cut three pieces of embroidery thread, long enough to meet in the middle of the circle, about 25 cm (depending on the size of your embroidery ring.) This will be the top of the mobile where you hang it up.
Step Two: Work out the positioning of the origami birds – where you want them to hang.
Step Three: Measure how far you want the birds to hang down. Mine vary in length, the longest is about 25 cm.
Step Four: Attach birds to embroidery thread by making a small hole with your needle in their wings (somewhere the knot will be hidden.)

origami mobile

Twelve Days of Christmas Heart Garland

12 days of xmas

12 days of xmas

12 days of xmas

Materials
White Card
Red Marker
Pencil
Scissors
String
Tape
Heart shape cookie cutter

Instructions
Step One:
Take your white card and draw twelve hearts using a heart cookie cutter or something that will give you a heart shape.
Step Two: Cut out the hearts.
Step Three: Write on your hearts with the red marker. I used a typewriter font from my computer and traced it onto my hearts.
The words are: a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three french hens, four colly birds, five golden rings, six geese-a-laying, seven swans-a-swimming, eight maids-a-milking, nine ladies dancing, ten lords-a-leaping, eleven pipers piping, twelve drummers drumming.
Step Four:
To get the right length of string, lay out your twelve hearts on the floor and position how far apart you would like them. Measure your string and cut!
Step Five: Now tape the string to the back of the hearts and your done!

12 days of xmas

12 days of xmas

Citrus Salt Body Scrub

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This is a easy homemade mothers day present!

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Ingredients:
Half a cup of sea salt
Half a cup of sweet almond oil (or olive oil)
Half a teaspoon of lemon zest
Half a teaspoon of orange zest

Method:
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients making sure to not let any water touch them as it will dissolve the salt.
Pour mixture into a jar or airtight container.

Note: Apply scrub to body in the shower.

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Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Peppermint Chocolate Cake   Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Cake 
Three tablesoons of butter
One cup of self-raising flour
One cup of sugar
Two eggs
Two tablespoons of cocoa powder
Half a cup of milk
Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence

Icing
One cup of icing sugar
One heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder
Two tablespoons melted butter
Two drops peppermint essence

To make cake, preheat oven to 180°C. Grease or line a cake tin with baking paper.

Place butter in a saucepan. Melt butter over heat. Next, combine all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter to flour mixture. Beat hard for 3 minutes.

Pour batter into cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Do not overcook, as it will become dry.

To make icing, sift icing sugar and cocoa. Add melted butter and combine until a paste forms. Add peppermint essence to taste. Ice completely cooled cake with a hot knife.

Peppermint Chocolate Cake