Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The muffin recipe...

For those of you who asked here is the muffin recipe I use.
They are very ordinary muffins!

50g butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
3/4 cup plain baking flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
3/4 cup milk

Mix together:
50g melted butter
1/2 cup of oats
1/3 cup brown sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in egg. Sift wholemeal flour, flour, mixed spice, baking powder and salt together. Return husks from sifter to bowl. Dissolve the soda in the milk. Add sifted ingredients alternately with soda to the creamed mixture, mixing just to combine. Spoon mixture into greased patty tins. Cover each muffin with the topping then bake at 200 degrees Celcius for 12-15 minutes.

The topping is my own addition. I love it because it makes the tops super crunchy and sweet. If any of the topping gets burnt don't eat it, it tastes awful!

And for those of you who asked just how cold it gets here, well...we had our coldest daytime temperature ever recorded, it was 8.2 degrees celcius (it gets colder at night). And we had snow for the first time since 1939, although some of the experts say it was 'graupel' or soft hail.
Now I know some of you will be laughing at the 8.2 degrees being 'cold' but here in Auckland we don't have central heating in our houses, during the day you only heat the room you're in and at night you don't heat anything! As our house is over 80 years old if it's 8.2 degrees outside it means it's just as cold inside the house! You can usually see your breath when you wake up in the morning, makes it very difficult to get out of a cosy bed. And poor Noah has to wear shorts to school all year round, whatever the weather. Happily the weather has warmed up considerably in the last week.

Enjoy the muffins!


Monday, August 22, 2011


The weather has been VERY cold here lately.
So to warm the kids up after school I thought I'd try and be 'Mother of the Year' (lol!) and have some tasty, freshly baked muffins waiting for them.

And what should arrive in the mail on the same day but a basket of the tinest little muffins!

These sweet little miniature muffins were a gift from Anna of  'It's the Little Things'.

Anna makes the sweetest little baked goods and these teensy muffins are just perfection!
They were a wonderful surprise on one of the coldest days we've ever had - the weather is crazy here this winter.

Thank you Anna!

(oh, yes...the kids did appreciate the homemade muffins and for a few minutes I was the world's best mother!)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Liberty's Cake Decorating Party!

Can you believe another year has gone by and Liberty has just
turned seven!!
She had been planning her cake decorating party almost since her 6th birthday!
I made the invitations in a great rush, just before school finished for two weeks holiday, using things I had at home.
Welcome to the party!
The 'Liberty's Bake Shop' sign was made for  Liberty by Iris who (doesn't have a blog) is just the sweetest person.
I hung it on the front door with a wreath of silk roses.
(I found the roses at an Op shop for just $3!)

Last minute preparations - it seems no matter how much time you have, you will always be working right to the last minute!
The party was held on the last day of the school holidays so we had two whole weeks to get ready.
I had a lot of fun making the 'Cupcakery Bakery' sign one evening.
I just used whatever I could find in my scrapbooking pile.
Here's the back of the cupcakery sign. I had been keeping the piece of wrapping paper with those desserts on it for years just waiting for the right thing to use it for.
I made the bunting from 'Laura Ashley' fabric scraps given to me by a friend.

          There was a colouring activity for the kids to do when they arrived.
It's always good to keep them busy until the last guest arrives.

We printed carnival letters for the 'Happy Birthday' banner and coloured them in.
My seven year old!
I found a fabulous tutorial here for making the coffee filter balls.
I really wanted to make a coffee filter garland but didn't have enough filters.
The round fluted filters that they use for these balls aren't readily available here in New Zealand. I was so excited when I found a pack at an Op shop!  
These little goody bags were for a game we didn't have time for but they all got to take them home at the end of the party.
Here's what was inside the goody bags.
Party food!
The tea cups filled with jelly were very popular!

For the second year in a row we had a beautiful sunny winters day for the party.

Here's what we used Lamina's beautiful tea towel for.
'Pin the Cherry on the Cupcake'
We used stickers with the kids initials for the cherries.
We also had an egg and spoon race.

There were bowls of buttercream frosting. We filled snap lock bags with royal icing and taped one corner before cutting a little 'V' shape in it to pipe with - they worked really well for little hands!
Sophie, Holly and Pauline - my three wonderful helpers.
I made them all aprons from pretty furnishing fabric samples.
Pauline took ALL the photos!
The sewing machine was busy all week!
I made simple aprons for all the little guests.
The girls apron fabrics are ' Laura Ashley' scraps given to me by a friend!
I added some cupcakes to the front Liberty's apron.

Hard at work!
The children all really enjoyed themselves.

There were two boys at the party and they had a great time.
They were thrilled with their aprons too!

After frosting a couple of cakes each Sophie (my teenage helper) showed the kids how to make a simple fondant person.
Liberty added a scarf to her persons neck.

I collected glass candlesticks from the Op shops. I even found six matching little glass dishes (at different Op shops!) and turned them into cupcake stands. I just blu-tacked the dishes to the candlesticks.

Here's the birthday cake!
'Hmmm, that looks rather boring', you're thinking...
We let the kids do the decorating!
There was complete silence while they were decorating the cake, they were really concentrating.
The happy result!

Eight happy sugar filled kids!
One happy SEVEN year old!

The party was a great success! 
Having just eight children there and three extra helpers (plus hubby and myself) made it much easier.
I always find a lot of inspiration from seeing other people's parties, so if anyone's considering a cake decorating party I hope this post helps!
If you need any more information just ask!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

A visit from Norma

At the beginning of June I was lucky enough to have a visit from Norma of 'Make Mine Mini'.
Norma made these beautiful gifts for me. I love those chairs and the sweet little wooden tray. The little resin angel she sent me when she returned to Sydney.

Norma sent this chair to Liberty for her dollhouse which was under construction when she came...sorry to say it's still under construction two months later. (I'm finding it hard to get motivated to do anything this winter! Although this week I have made an effort to get things moving with Liberty's house.)

Norma also gave Liberty this absolutely stunning screen printed (life size, lol!) tea towel.
It was made by the fabulously talented Lamina at 'Do A Bit'.
It's far too beautiful to be used as a tea towel...we did however use it at Liberty's birthday party last week...I'm just sorting through the party photos now and will show you that next week!

Frederica (on the right) of Frederica's Little World came over and joined us for lunch. 
It was a fun day!

And here's a little surprise that landed in my mailbox recently from Katie at 'Katies Clay Corner'.
Two of the sweetest little birdhouses with cake decals on them.
When Katie saw the mini bakery she thought they would look perfect there!
Thank you Katie!!