Saturday, 5 January 2013

Orange cordial……make your own!

Today, is the second last day of my holidays.  I have enjoyed this past week, pottering around the house, catching up on many odd jobs and projects.  Never venturing far from home….partly due to the plague of holiday people and mostly because I rarely get to have time to just do - stuff!

So I was originally going to do a quick Facebook post on this afternoon's project, but decided that it deserved a blog post of its own.  Rather red-faced, it has been a long time between posts, so thought it was high time to write something hopefully interesting.

A quick trip to the local fruit and veg store this afternoon, saw me lugging in three bags of produce - mostly fruit for my new juicer.  I quickly got started on my intended project, fresh orange juice.  Now this is nothing spectacularly different, but wow, it tasted SO good, I wondered what else I could make with it?  Then the light bulb thought of home-made orange cordial came to me……yes, that was it!

After a quick search on the net, I came across this recipe from Towards Sustainability and now that I have discovered this blog, I will no doubt be marking it as one of my must-reads on my iPad.

The finished product….so yummy!

The cordial was dead easy to make….simply mix sugar with water in a saucepan and dissolve over a low heat.  Then add the fruit juice - I had fresh orange, but anything could be used.  I also added some citric acid, to help preserve the mixture in the fridge, but I think when my son comes home, he will soon make short work of this batch. Now that I think of it, I might have to raid my mum's lemon tree to make a batch of lemon……yummy and refreshing!


So, why make your own?  

1.  It is delicious and unlike store bought orange cordial, it actually tastes like real fruit.
2.  I know exactly what went into it……and exactly what didn't!
3.  It is really cheap to make….I think it would have cost about one dollar for about a litre.
4.  What a great way to use up any excess fruit!  Many citrus trees are often overloaded with fruit.
5.  I am happy for my son to drink this, in moderation of course!
6.  Another great use for the juicer that I got for Christmas……smile.

Love my juicer!

Although I don't make New Year's resolutions, during my holiday I have been putting down the foundations for my Autumn veg crop and really aiming to grow as much of my own food as possible.
I have also been inspired to start making more home-made food, hopefully using much of my backyard harvest.  There are zucchinis starting to grow huge overnight, ready to be included with some yummy pasta. I have a recipe for homemade spelt pasta, now I can give my dusty pasta maker a run for its money.  Tomatoes are not far off…..can't wait to tuck into them!

It makes for a satisfying lifestyle, making and growing your own food.  I would love to hear about your homemade, handmade and homegrown stories…..!


MPH xx

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Shake it up...

Good morning!

I hope everyone hung on to their hats last night, after our amazing 5.3 ish earth tremor?  I was having dinner at a friend's house last night and after dinner we had sat down in the lounge room.  She got up to put her son to bed and not long after my lounge chair started to shake.  It was weird, because I initially thought she was playing a trick on me by rocking my chair, so I looked around only to find her gone from the lounge room.  Then I thought that maybe the cat was climbing up the back of the chair, making it move?  I didn't give it another thought until my sister messaged me about the tremor and it all made sense.  What a weird feeling it is to feel the earth shake……sort of scary (luckily it was not a major tremor), a little bit exciting but also a strong feeling of helplessness, as it is beyond our control.

Anyway, I soon headed home to check that all was well and to make sure my pets were all safe.  Our house is on stumps so it would have had a right royal shaking for sure!

I settled in to poke around the Internet, as I quite often do some nights.  I clicked on the Contemporary Handmade Alliance website/blog which I had looked at briefly a couple of times before.  This time, I went through a lot more of the blog and found some amazing information on it.  The posts are sometimes written by guest contributors, each giving their own take on a certain subject and always filled with plenty of great advice.  I was pleased to discover Ali from Cheeky Pickle had written a few posts.

So if you have a few spare moments, which will probably turn into an hour or two, there are some great tips, tricks and info for your own handmade business.




Tuesday, 12 June 2012

New reads…..

Good morning everyone…..
OK, I do love winter, I really do…..but my toes are still frozen and I am sitting inside at my desk, with a scarf still wrapped around my neck……the fire is blazing but I am STILL cold!!  Brrr!!  On this foggy and frosty morning I think even the poor gas heater was struggling! I do not blame my clever cat Buster, who hopped under the covers on my bed, while my other cat Lynx, was attached to me like a magnet, trying to keep warm.  Even with their lovely warm coats, they too are feeling the chill!  Outside the sun is now out and my dog Basil is up on his trampoline, soaking up some rays like a glossy, slightly hairy, black solar panel!

So hopefully you have banished the cold and are basking in front of a warm heater.  If so, I have some reading material of the crafty nature just for you!!

Tickle the Imagination……Issue 06 is available to read online HERE and best of all, it's FREE!!


The new issue No.15 of Mollie Makes is available to download on to your iPad for $7.49 now…..!!

iTunes link is HERE

Enjoy your reading!!


MPH xx

Monday, 4 June 2012

Canberra stampede!!

Wherefore out thou Jodie?
Here I am!!
Sorry about the lapse in blog posts over the past few weeks, but phew! it has been a busy time……we went off to Fiji…… then back home and holiday recovery, then off to Canberra last week….. now I am back home again, recovering from my few days of convention.

And I have to say, the weather here is worse than Canberra!  I was expecting to freeze to death in our capital, but the weather was not too bad, crisp days and really chilly below zero nights, but altogether not so bad.

Not just paper goodies………..but gorgeous fabric samples too!! 
So what did I get up to in Canberra?  Well, if you can imagine 460-ish mad keen paper crafters, mostly Stampin' Up! demonstrators (including one gentleman demonstrator) all bursting with excitement, squealing, laughing, chatting and stampeding into the annual Stampin' Up! 2012 Convention, then you got it right!!  Two and a half days of demonstrations, seminars, shopping, browsing gorgeous cards and scrapbooking examples, playing with new products…..oh and GIVEAWAYS!!  Gorgeous giveaways galore!!  Capped off by a lovely dinner and awards night.  Ooooh it was so much fun!!  I mean, seriously, it was just brilliant!!!  If you love craft in any way, shape or form, you would have LOVED it!
Waiting patiently for the show to begin………Stampin' Up! Convention 2012

Creative class mayhem and fun!

A gorgeous scrapbooking sample

Stampin' Up! put on a fantastic, professional and welcoming few days.  We had staff out from the Home Office in Utah, USA and they were all so friendly and hilarious.  Our Aussie staff were their usual lovely selves, keeping us entertained and looked after.  So much was packed into two and a half days……..Well done to them all!!

Our team photo at the Dinner
The four of us had a fantastic Convention, lots of late night chatting and giggles…….somewhat exhausted most of the time…….fuelled up on Cola drinks and lots of chocolate……….absolute excitement about the new products coming our way in September…….and did I mention the giveaways?  So, so cool!  Oh and we had Teena's car, which we managed to fill with lots of goodies, and we got lost when we first arrived…….and got lost again.  I have never seen so many huge roundabouts!!  Even with using the GPS, Canberra is a tricky city to navigate!!

I would have loved to show you more lovely examples of the new products, but I am sworn to secrecy, so I can't post the gorgeous photos I have…….sorry ladies!!

See ya soon,


MPH xx

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Meet the Maker……..Kate from "The Cake Table"

Meet the Maker on a Thursday!  Better late than never.

This week I thought a sweet treat was in order, so I would like to say thank you and welcome to Kate Wotherspoon from The Cake Table.  I think you will agree that her cake designs are beautifully made and I am sure they taste as good as they look!

Name:  Kate Wotherspoon

Business Name:  The Cake Table

Online storefront/s:

Facebook:  The Cake Table



1.  So, tell us about yourself……
I am obsessed with chocolate…I am a cake lover…I am a sweets connoisseur…I am a wife and mother of two who is trying to combine all things I am passionate about - a love for baking and creating cake "masterpieces" and my family.

I have the greatest memories of my grandmother and my mum baking and remember pulling at their apron strings asking to help, and of course lick the bowl!  Cooking, baking, celebrating and sharing food is love in our family!

I started my working life in the corporate world, marketing for some of the major banks and insurance companies….and I was the one in the office that always brought in homemade treats to share at staff meetings and gatherings in the early days!  I successfully worked my way up the corporate ladder for a good 15 years, while madly baking behind the scenes until a life changing move in 2008. 

I am also a keen traveller and camper, so when I am not in the kitchen, you will find me exploring Australia with a  campervan, kids and bikes in tow!

2.  Why handmade?
Homemade food from scratch, with love and the finest quality ingredients tastes best! There is a huge difference in taste between shop bought and homemade, not to mention home baked usually averages 6 ingredients… bought can have up to 40 ingredients, mainly preservatives, colours and chemicals that do nothing more than increase shelf life.

There is a quality in handmade, not just in cakes, but craft, sewing, art and the like, something you can't get at the major stores or through mass-produced channels.  I love the effort and patience people put into handmade.  It can't be beaten.

3.  What influenced you to start your business?
It was a desert change!  We moved our family from Mornington to Alice Springs in 2008, at a time when we were looking to inject something different into our lives. Before the move, I was travelling in and out of the city from Mornington each day and found myself dreaming of living a life where I could do what makes me smile each day, be involved in my children's life and the community - not sitting on a train for 3 hours a day, madly rushing from one thing to another.

The move to Alice Springs was amazing! It changed our thinking and life goals and forced us to look at our lives differently.  I decided a complete career change was overdue and to live a more authentic life doing what I love so much - baking.  I started off catering to workplaces for morning teas and brunches in Alice Springs, with a selling point of "made from scratch" and word spread quickly.  The catering work afforded me some petty cash to fund some further training with Planet Cake in Sydney, to be able to concentrate on my first love, bespoke cakes and cupcakes.  When we moved back home at Christmas in 2010, I relaunched The Cake Table and haven't looked back.

I am also "a little" addicted to the feedback and joy I get from people who eat and enjoy my creations.

4.  What type of products do you sell?
Bespoke, individually handmade and homemade from scratch, special occasion cakes and cupcakes.  Anything from delicate wedding cakes with handmade roses to Thomas the Tank novelty cakes and cupcakes.

5.  What are your inspirations for making your products?
As with most art, inspiration is everywhere.  From a beautiful flower you pass on the way to dropping the kids at school, or some of the gorgeous greeting cards out there, or even a movie.  I recently saw The Lorax and could not stop looking at the trees in the movie, I am sure they will make it onto one of my cakes soon!

I also believe in homemade/handmade and want to make sure the traditional continues in my family and my customers, so this inspires me to grow my business.

6.  Where do you sell your products?
The majority of my cakes are wedding cakes, so they are arranged by appointment and tastings. I also take orders for cupcakes and birthday cakes via phone, email and Facebook, as well as the occasional local market or school event.

7.  How much time do you spend making your products each week?
Every week is different, depending on the cake designs, but it averages around 25 hours a week.

8.  Do you have a dedicated craft area or studio in your home?
Yes, I have a registered kitchen and a custom built cake studio to store my tools and equipment.

9.  Are you self taught or have you had a good teacher?
My cake decorating journey began over 20 years ago in a cold church hall in the back blocks of Geelong, learning old style skills such as lace work and brush embroidery, from amazing ladies in the Cake Decorating Association of Victoria.  However, cake decorating has changed enormously since then, and over time, lots of my skills have come from playing around in the kitchen and trying out new things.  Along with more recently, the occasional training with some of the amazing cake schools and teachers that have began to visit Melbourne in the last few years.