Category: Design

Home Design

How to upset a typographer

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To me, this reads MOWEN. I am always seeing examples of upside-down letters, most commonly it’s the number 8 when people hang their own house numbers. Do you see them too?

Still, I love to see a handcrafted sign. And that lady really looks like she needs to go.

Making Plum Paste

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Our plum tree yielded so many plums this year, despite near neglect and hardly any water. What a little trooper! I made a plum pie (yum) and was about to turn the rest into jam when my husband suggested make a quince paste alternative. Genius! PLUM PASTE!

Quince Paste (Membrillo) is a dense, sweet jam that is usually served alongside cheese. It turns cheese on crackers into even more of a delicious tasty morsel, if you can imagine that, and also has the added bonus of making your cheese platter look pretty fancy.

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After researching a few different Quince Paste and Plum Paste recipes, I decided to use this one from Woolworths

  • 2kg plums. I have no idea if I used 2kg of Plums but you can see how many are in the colander above.
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups sugar (approximately)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice

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Chopping the plums into quarters and separating the seeds was not as time consuming as I had thought it would be. In fact, very quick and easy. Although I was annoyed when I realised I had gone to the trouble of separating the seeds when I really didn’t have to, as it turns out that including the seeds helps add pectin and set the jelly.

So you add the plums, seeds and 1/2 cup of water into a saucepan and stir occasionally over low heat for 20mins until it is mushy.

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You’ll know when it’s ready because the skins turn the mixture a beautiful shade of red, and your house starts to smell amazing.

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Then comes the bothersome bit. You have to push the mixture through a sieve. I used the coarsest sieve I have and it still took forever. I set aside the solids and then pushed them all through the sieve one more time, because I’m like that.

When you have your strained puree, measure it and add an equal amount of sugar, I actually found I had 4 cups of puree and so I added 4 cups of sugar, just like the recipe said, which was quite amazing considering I never measured the amount of plums I had. Exciting times.

Dissolve sugar and puree over medium heat, then add the lemon juice. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 30mins or until thick.

Sorry I didn’t take any photos of this part, obviously I needed a break after all that sieving. Is that even a word? Sieving? SIEVING.

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Then pour your mixture into hot, sterile jars. I used an odd assortment I had in the cupboard. Secure the lids and let them cool. That is really all you need to do for jam, but I wanted to make sure these lasted until the holiday season so I placed a glass lid in the bottom of a saucepan so the jars didn’t touch the base. Then I covered the jars in an inch of water and boiled them for 5 minutes. I have know idea if this was effective or not, but hey, that’s what I did. It looked like it worked.

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Then it was logo and packaging time, yay! I just did a calligraphy course with Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls through Oh Happy Day craft nights (which was really wonderful and super fun) so I spent a little time trying out some ideas. Actually drawing with an actual pen on actual paper is something I haven’t done for a while.

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Once I was happy with my calligraphy I printed out some little labels and stuck them on the jars with glue.  You are welcome to download these labels to use and make your own plum paste, just click here for the plum paste free printable

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Because I’m a total trickster I used some washi tape around the lids of my recycled jars so that no one would ever know they were originally Bonne Maman jars my husband got from a hotel breakfast buffet and then gifted to me, pretending that he’d bought me a present whilst he was away. Sneaky, huh?

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Here you can see I’m testing my Weck jars to see that they are sealed. If you take off the clamps and lift the jar by the lid only, it should stick. The orange tab should also be pointing down. Check and check on both points, my Weck jars are sealed!

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Plum Paste
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This plum paste turned out to be seriously delicious. I was planning on using these for gifts at the holidays but now I’m not sure I will be able to refrain from eating them before then. Apologies to friends and neighbors, if you don’t get one of these, the intention was there!




The Sartorialist

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 
Today I just spent a little time on one of my favourite blogs of all time, The Sartorialist.

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 
I am not a fashionista in any way, and yet I find his photographs so inspiring. I love seeing everyday people (well, very good-looking, slim, fashionable people) going about their day, but making it extra special by bringing some intriguing character to their overall look.

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 
Often it’s just minor details that change an outfit from ordinary to fascinating. Mostly what impresses me is that each of these people have put care and effort into their appearance, and it shows.

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 
He is a brilliant photographer who somehow manages to capture stunning portraits and sumptuous lighting in what appear to be quick snapshots.

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 
Whenever I look at this blog I feel inspired to try a little harder – not just with clothes but with everything. It reminds me that the effort you put in is definitely noticeable, no matter how small the detail.

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 
“I feel bad for people that are always looking for excuses on how NOT to be inspired.” 
Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist

All images © The Sartorialist

© The Sartorialist

 
Don’t all these people look like a still from a movie? I can imagine a storyline for each one.

DIY Paper Flower Garland

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Today I’m sharing with you a little craft project I whipped up a while ago. It’s super easy and quite satisfying – mainly because it’s quick and impactful.

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To start, you’ll need a few sheets of tissue paper. I used some from the Target Dollar section (my favourite place!) and didn’t even bother to unfold it. I just traced circles onto the folded sheet, then cut them out, making the edges a little curvy with my scissors.

I grouped them into in piles of around 12 pieces, and stapled them together through the middle.

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Then I scrunched the top layer into a flower formation, and continued to fold each sheet underneath until I had a reasonably convincing flower, leaving the last sheet of tissue flat.

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Paper Flower Garland

That’s it! You could then stick each half of the flower together to create a pom pom, or leave as is. Obviously, you can make these in any size you like. You’ll just need more tissue paper for bigger flowers.

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I sticky taped each flower onto a piece of raffia, and made little washi tape pennants to punctuate the space between.

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There’s not too much room to go wrong with this project, no glue, no fiddly parts and no craft skills necessary!

DIY: Reupholstering an Ottoman

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I picked up this neon pink upholstered ottoman from Target, deeply discounted at $5. I figured no one else had bought it because it was blindingly pink – but it’s a very useful piece of furniture: A seat, storage and softness all in one. Perfect for our playroom!

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I thought I would be able to easily bleach the neon pink into a softer shade, but after spending two days in a bucket of bleach it emerged cleaner and brighter than ever! I would have to get crafty.

So I grabbed a leftover piece of fabric from my stockpile (a friend once told me that women stash fabric scraps, the way men hoard pieces of wood – all of us believing they will be useful at some point!)

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I cut it into a circle (OK! not quite a circle. Not even close.)

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And used a staple gun to secure it all the way around. Then I trimmed off the excess fabric and made the edges nice and neat. All of this took around 10 minutes and I have to say was extremely satisfying!

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Job done! High fives all round.

DSC_0585And then because it was so easy I decided to whip up some matching pillows out of the leftover fabric, using iron-on tape and some stuffing out of an old throw pillow. That part wasn’t quite as easy or satisfying as using a staple gun, but not too hard.

Now the playroom looks a little more like it has a theme and it’s not just a room full of toys and junk. Yay!

 

 

Beautiful Personalised Birthday Card Hack

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Here is a super easy way to create gorgeous birthday cards with minimal fuss.

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Buy pretty blank cards – I always look in the dollar section at Target, these ones were only $1 for 8! Then buy a pack of stick-on letters, these are Thickers by American Crafts. You can buy them in the scrapbooking section of craft stores.

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The hardest part is spacing the letters and getting them centred on the card. I have to admit I struggle a little with that!! And there you have a pretty, personalised card for a very reasonable price.

Of course you don’t just have to write a name. Sometimes I use numbers for the age, or create whatever message I need. Get creative with it!

 

 

DIY Washi Tape Mouse Pad

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Here is a 2 minute update for your desk. We could call it a mini desk makeover, but really, it’s just putting some sticky tape on something that was lying around the house.

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One day I looked down at what was underneath my mouse, and realised just how dirty and gross it was. And although a new mouse pad isn’t exactly going to break the bank, I didn’t feel the need to rush out and buy a new one.

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So I peeled off the existing pink fabric that was stuck to the foam. Then stuck on the washi tape. NOT VERY HARD! To get varying thicknesses, I did some colours twice in a row, matching up the patterns.

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And there it is! Colourful, clean and easy to do.

Before and After, and another update: Twins Bedroom

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Here are photos of my 4 year old twins bedroom, you may have seen them already on Apartment Therapy.

As much as I love this room, unfortunately little kids grow up and so we have to change with them. So I am making plans for a new ‘big girl’ room.

Funny that I was so adamant that I wouldn’t bow to the pressure and make a pink girls bedroom. However, I am finding myself pushing for it – mainly because then all the pink toys, presents, dolls etc that will also be in the room will match.

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I am thinking of purchasing bunk beds that can also be used as two twin beds. It seems to be the most sensible purchase to ensure we will always have enough room for the girls wherever we live. And then we could have another bed in the room if #3 ever feels like she is left out by sleeping in a room on her own.

Just changing the curtains and throw pillows gives the room a whole new feeling. I’m quite excited about getting this project underway, as are the twins who have already decided that they are BOTH sleeping in the top bunk!

Design Mom and Apartment Therapy

blogsExciting times! Today you can see my Living with Kids Home Tour over on Design Mom (who is completely amazing, she runs a beautiful blog, founded Alt Summit AND has six kids. SIX!)

And if that’s not enough excitement, coincidentally the Twins bedroom is also featured on Apartment Therapy today. YAY!

Stay tuned for the before-and-after of our dining room, it will be posted first thing tomorrow. There are a few ways to remember to visit, you can enter your email on the box on the side, or follow with Bloglovin, or just by using your brain. I personally wouldn’t rely on the last one!

How to Hang an Eclectic Gallery

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Here is a guide to making a gallery wall that doesn’t require any measuring. Yay for that!

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I wanted to hang some of our great family photos but kept baulking at the cost of buying a new set of matching frames. Then I cleaned out a cupboard and realised that I already owned a LOT of frames (Some that I bought at a garage sale in Bondi over 12 years ago, which have since travelled the world… that is some problem hoarding!). I was planning on spray painting all these frames the same colour, but once I got them all out I realised that I liked the eclectic effect.

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With three little kids I have a window of around 2 hours to get things done, so I needed to get this project on the wall, fast! The easiest solution I came up with was to map out the size of the wall with paper. (I was going to say newspaper, but really, who has those lying around the house anymore?!)

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Then I laid the paper out on the floor and arranged my frames. Starting with the big frames and filling in the spaces with the small frames, I didn’t stick to any kind of grid, but I kept the same space between each frame.

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I traced around each frame, then sticky taped the paper back on the wall.

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Starting with the bigger frames again, I ripped holes in the paper to place the hooks, then hung each picture as I went to make sure they actually looked good.

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And voila! Photos on the wall without any measuring or messing around. Faster than you can say “Mummmmmy I’m hungrrrrry!”

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Happy Valentines Day

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I don’t really do Valentines Day. Of course, if I found a mysterious card from a very attractive secret admirer I might be persuaded to celebrate.

I have always wanted to buy those little heart candies though, so that’s what we are celebrating today.

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Maritime Museum Art Deco Niceness

If you love a bit of art deco goodness, combined with some sea-faring jauntiness, you will love the San Francisco Maritime museum.

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I have to say, as a museum it was pretty bad. Unless you are very interested in the two small boats on display. There really didn’t seem to be any information about the building or the amazing murals on the walls. So, thank you internet, for the following information.

It was originally built as a bathhouse in 1939 in the Streamline Moderne Style. (My absolute favourite style of architecture. I would love to have a Streamline house. On the water. One day!). The painted murals inside were created by  Hilaire Hiler whilst Sargent Johnson designed the tile mural and the carved entrance.

There was an amazing circular room with a breathtaking coloured ceiling, however I couldn’t get a photo as there was a seniors Tai Chi class being held (slightly random) but some research has revealed it’s called the Prismatarium. The whole building would be an amazing spot to hold a party, or a wedding.

Gushy love for my favourite cookbook

A cookbook that has held the title of ‘Favourite’ for well over a year now, is Bill Granger’s Everyday Asian. I just love this book. It may not be the most authentic, but it has a good selection of my favourite Asian and psuedo Australian-Asian dishes.

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The recipes are easy and use regular pantry ingredients.

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And the photography! I love it so! Such lovely, light-filled, colourful shots that take classic greasy spoon decor to a modern and chic place.

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Styling a CNY dinner

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I took a trip to Chinatown today to prepare for Chinese New Year, and it was crazy busy. CRAZY. It was difficult to walk down the street, I started to get overwhelmed and confused about what I came for, and I got yelled at by old ladies. It felt just like being back in Jordan, in other words, I loved it!

So I’ve taken a look at what I have in the cupboard, and I think I could make a stylish Chinese New Year theme with the things I have, plus using a colour palette of red, orange, pink and yellow. And of course, white, to make it all crisp and clean and laundry detergent bright, just the way I like it.

Can you tell I’m getting a bit excited about this event? Just wait until I start cooking, I’m going to dream of dumplings until then…