Friday, January 28, 2011

The story of Cup Muffins

Or how I substituted cupcakes for savoury muffins at a recent 2nd birthday party and got away with it!

In the interest of staving off tooth rot... and too much hyperactivity I decided to try to limit the sugar intake at Harvey's recent second birthday party. Yes there was cake (and an awesome cake at that which I will share with you in a later post), and there was fairy bread (for those who are not enlightened, fairy bread is bread, butter and sprinkles/hundreds and thousands - staple party food for Australian children), and there were 'cup muffins'!

The recipe I used was my own version of a savoury muffin recipe that I got of but you can really use whatever recipe you know that your kids will eat (this wasn't the important bit).  The trick was to make them small (almost bite sized for us, but enough to pull up a two year old), put them in colourful patty pans (cupcake paper) and decorate them to look interesting.

To avoid collapse and make things a lot easier, I put the colourful patty pans in a muffin tray then put the mixture in:

I then used writing icing to put number '2s' on each in colours matching the patty pan, but you could of course do any decoration on top to match your party theme. The little bit of sugar (the icing) on top was enough to make them exciting  for the kids who munched them down like there was no tomorrow. I know the sweet/savoury thing sounds a bit weird, but they tasted good.

Then you can arrange them in any appealing fashion you choose (I am sure you can be a little more imaginative than my effort:

I froze the excess and my 2 year old still munches on them when we are out and about. Have fun with the idea and be as creative (or not) as you like.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On Safari - new jungle animals in the safari series!

I am really excited about the two new additions to the Safari Series of paintings in my WallFry store. What started out as four is now six with the addition of a Rhinoceros:

and Cheetah:

 to the original Lion, Elephant, Hippopotomus and Zebra:

These paintings are so popular both individually and as a set of four. Since the addition of the extra two, I have sold a few sets of six as well. I love the bright, rich colors in these. I create texture in each canvas and really enjoy working with the colors and textures when painting them.

I designed the Rhino and Cheetah at the request of a customer and can't wait for more custom requests so that I can design more safari animals. I love the design process and this is when I am at my happiest creatively.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pimp My Play Room

As the boys are getting older we are very quickly starting to run out of space in their play area / rumpus room. It is a space off to one side of the living area, not huge but it should be plenty big enough for two little guys. So it was time to organise and, better still, decorate! And to do so with a budget in mind.

It was important for it to be bright, fun, colourful and functional so that the kids could identify it as their own space. But with such close proximity to shared living areas it also had to be organised, neat, tidy and easy to keep that way.

The only major purchase was the shelving:

We purchased the shelves at Officeworks although they didn't sell this particular set online and we had to go instore. If there is not an Officeworks near you, they sell very similar shelves at Ikea reasonably priced. I loved the colourful baskets. They are ideal for storage, with things that the boys can access down low and those they can't, or shouldn't, up higher. They are easy for them to use too and Harvey, who is only 2 can get them out, play with their contents, pack up and put them away (although he never does). He much prefers to empty one and carry it around pretending it is a washing basket when he is helping me with the washing.

Although we have discovered there are other uses:

On one side is an old sofa bed that we have had for ages, so we don't need to worry about messes. It is also great to have for that unexpected extra guest to stay over. I have decorated it with some toys, cushions and a beautiful quilt using Michael Miller fabrics that my Mother made for Harvey when he was born:

On the other side, for extra storage, we put drawers that were previously bought from Ikea which I have covered with colourful fabrics. I plan to post a tutorial on how to cover drawers like this in fabric in the near future, so stay tuned:

Above the drawers I have hung a set of the Dog Series paintings from my nursery art store WallFry. I did originally paint them for the store, but fell in love with them so have left them hanging on the playroom wall:

I am going to make some of the papier mache letters that I also have in my store to coordinate with the colours in the baskets and will post pictures of the finished results soon.

So far the playroom is living up to its expectations. It is bright, fun, colourful and functional and I am finding that even with a 2 year old and an 11 month old, it is a lot easier to keep tidy and organised. The kids seem to love it too:

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