Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Week 11 - End of Term 2

This is it.  Week 11 of my challenge for this Term.  I've found it easy to gain inspiration from one Pin a week.  In fact, I've been inspired by many more than that.  I like seeing what others Pin.  I don't necessarily agree with it all but I'm curious about human nature, what other people think, what other people do.  Often it doesn't even make a difference to me at all.  Sometimes it does.

I like seeing what's happening in the online world and what's happening in the real world.  Occasionally this is the same thing.  Pinterest trends are often relevant to current events and issues but not always.  There are always Christmas and Halloween concepts that are in the popular search results.  

In today's search of what's popular, there's a Pin for the 30 day ab-challenge that has 622 repins.  Who's actually done it?  We need to see the before and after photos for proof people.  There's a Pin showing how to hang your coats in an artistic fashion on your cabin wall with 130 repins.  There's residual Father's Day gifts that are still popular.  Father's Day is in September in Australia.  We'll be coming back to those in a few months, so keep them coming.

Wedding dresses pop up on the screen at every scroll.  Some have over 300 repins.  Brides certainly are notorious for researching to find the exact thing they're looking for.  They're desperate to make sure they make their day perfect.  I found 922 repins of a Pin leading us to 'Clean, Healthy Salads'.  There's 230 repins of a baby dressed in a tutu.  Adorable.

And in today's popular search with 71 repins, there's this.

Henry Cavill

Ah yes.  The Pinner decided this was worth acknowledging simply because they are who they are.  Just to look at, of course.  These are not Pins for action.  Or for inspiration.  Simply for acknowledging.  Just to simply state: This is Henry Cavill - enjoy.

Benedict Cumberbatch is also a regular appearance in Popular Pins.  Now, see, I like watching Sherlock.  I enjoyed Mr Cumberbatch in the recent Star Trek film.  Is he a 'Pin-up'? (Sorry for the last pun, couldn't help it.)  I personally, think not.  Gasp!  Sorry, but no.  Here is my point.  You are allowed to think Mr Cumberbatch is (ugh) 'dreamy'.  I will not argue.  I simply don't agree but as that tired old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And behold, last night my eyes gazed upon Mr Henry Cavill in the flesh and blood.

This is not a surprise to you.  Or to me.  I told you last week this might happen.  My niece simply asked me to please touch him on her behalf.  That's nuts.  It certainly was funny to joke about it beforehand but in all honesty, you can't just walk up to someone and hold their hand.

But, here's what happened....

When the time came to arrive at the Red Carpet Premiere of "Man of Steel" in Sydney last night, I was buzzing with excitement.  The queue for the ticketholders spread all the way down George Street.  In the cold.  In the pouring rain.  The security guards inspected everyone's pass to ensure that they were entitled to walk the red carpet.  Please note:  There was in fact, no red carpet.  It was the regular carpet that's there every other day.  

We passed the guards and walked up the centre aisle.  The crowds behind the barricades looked at us.  Searching our faces.  We were nobodies.  Ahead, we see cameramen and interviewers asking questions of movie stars.  Russell Crowe has his own gathering going on over to the left.  We were herded by security away from this.  We can't stop and take a quick photo of Rusty.  "Move over to the right please," bark the security.  Oh, there's that guy from the video channel on Foxtel.  What's his name?  I see Timomatic, oh and Jasinta Campbell, hmm.  "Look, Henry is just there," whispers my friend (a.k.a. Mr Warner Brothers).  "Where?" I replied.


Bugger.  I can't see a thing!  We were herded up the escalator and as a far away as we could get from the action, upstairs with the hundreds of other invited guests.  Kept away from the movie stars.  Kept at a safe distance.  Oh, this is how it is, ok.  This does seem a little unfair.  Downstairs the fans behind the barricades are approached by the stars.  They hug, they sign autographs, they have quick photo sessions, they chat.  I see photographers backsides and the tops of movie stars heads.

My son needed to go to the toilet so he ran off and I waited at the top of the escalators.  I wasn't sure which direction we would need to head next.  I thought I had better just stay where I was and wait for my son to return.  Then, um, it happened.  Henry came up the escalator.  

Oh, look...that suit...those eyes...nice hair (a cross between Clark and Superman) handsome...oh wow...standing right here in front of me.. oh, God....CAMERA!!  Take a photo you complete idiot!  I wasn't close enough to say something either.  He wandered off through the crowd smiling, quietly.  That's a strange description, but he moved quietly through the crowd and disappeared.

So, that's it.  That's how I came face to face with Superman.  No photo, no proof.  I've mentioned to my kids to sometimes put down the camera phone and see it with their own eyes.  Just watch and remember the moment.  Don't stare at the back of the camera or that's what you'll remember.  

And that's how I ended up with this week's Pin of the week.

This Week's Pin:  The Man of Steel
Who's This For?:  Me
Difficulty:  Extreme - a very rare moment in time, never to be repeated

Lots of words this week; no craft, no glue, no baking or measuring.  We have a brief school holidays.  I'll gather some new Pins for next term: Term 3.  Gather new inspiration and ideas and see you then.  Thanks for all the feedback and nice comments.


If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.Jim Rohn

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Cinnamon Buns

I've had a busy week.  I know, everyone's busy, join the club.  I had no idea what Pin to use for inspiration this week.  My lovely friend Robyn gave me a Jam Melon.  I didn't know what it was.  She suggested I make jams and use this melon as a base.  I don't have fruits to use, need to buy some jars.  Hmm.  I'm still looking for inspiration.

Remembering my goal ten weeks ago, if I Pinned it then I thought it worthy of using.  So, I browsed the Pins I had repinned and saw a recurring theme - Cinnamon Buns!

Look, here's a few I repinned:

And don't be ridiculous, of course there are hundreds more cinnamon bun recipes than these.  Look, there are pages and pages of them.

I simply chose these because they resonated with me.  The gluten-free one looks good for my fructose free diet.  But!  Are they dry and bland?  Hmmm.  I love the look of the Strawberry Sweet Rolls.  Yummo!  But my daughter doesn't really like strawberry jam filling in donuts so will she like these?  Hang on.  The Dr Oz recipe says "Low Fat & Low Calorie".  That's got to be the one!  Let's go.

This Week's Pin:  Dr Oz's Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
Who's This For?:  The whole family
Difficulty:  Easy Steps but at about 7 hours from start to finish!

I printed the recipe and found the ingredients.  Gee Dr Oz for a low-fat-low-calorie recipe, that's a fair amount of butter.  The recipe also asks for Xantham Gum.  Don't worry it's easy to find in the supermarket and not expensive.  It's a product used to keep gluten free products moist so I have it in my pantry all the time now.  When you're baking with potato flour, rice flour and other non-wheat products, the final product can get dry, crumbly and pretty yuk so it's a great additive.

After 5 minutes of mixing, I found that the mixer was getting really hot as the consistency was pretty firm.  I was using the dough attachment but the last thing I wanted was to overheat my machine and burn out the engine.  So, I was kneeding on my bench, listening to the radio and happy, happy, happy.

Kneeding done, popped into the bowl, covered and left in a warm spot, this is how it looked at the start.

And 4 hours later, this is how it looked.  The strange thing is that the recipe asked me to cover it and leave it in the fridge for 5 to 6 hours.  Ok, so the yeast is really going to have a battle doing it's thing in the fridge, me thinks!  That's why I left it on top of my coffee machine, bathed in sunlight and happily growing in size.  For the middle of Winter in Australia, a sunshine bathed kitchen is a delight so I took advantage of it.

I spread the pastry out on the bench.  I have to be honest and admit that I don't own a rolling pin.  I've put it on my shopping list for next week because I really needed it.  There's a great big hole in the right hand side and no matter how I squished it and flattened it, the hole just stayed there.  Never mind, on with the show!  Dr Oz's recipe asked me to spread MORE butter on the pastry and then cover with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon (wait, I mean INDONESIAN cinnamon) and Xantham Gum.  OK, look what the heck is Indonesian cinnamon?  I've got Dutch cinnamon so that's what I'm using.  You might be able to see on the left hand side I also sprinkled a little chopped walnuts.  I had a lot of cinnamon and sugar mixture left.  I will reduce the quantity next time or perhaps roll the pastry out larger.  Yep, with a rolling pin I'm sure I can achieve that.

Rolled up, sliced and placed in the tray, I got 12 cinnamon buns.  I think the recipe calculated 10 buns but these are large enough.  They were then left in the oven for a further hour with a bowl of boiling water underneath.  So while resting and rising again, I made dinner.  The children were confused why the cinnamon buns smelled of garlic and the pasta smelled of cinnamon.  There was a lot going on in the kitchen at once.

When they were plump and ready for baking I warmed the oven.  The temperature of the oven in the recipe was in farenheit so I guessed and warmed the oven to 180 degrees celcius and baked away for 20 minutes until they were golden brown.

I prepared some vanilla icing (my son doesn't like cream cheese, or any cheese for that matter) while the buns baked.  The mixture was a little thick so I just dollopped it on top, hoping the warmth of the buns would melt the icing.  Nope.  Who cares?  Let's eat.

Here they are.  Yummy, warm, gooey cinnamon centre and vanilla icing blobs on top.  The dough was cooked all the way through and moist!  All four fussy eaters loved them.  Lunch boxes were filled the next day too.  Life is good.

Next week, ANOTHER busy week. I'l be away in the beginning of the week in Sydney with a lovely man.  Let me show you why....

I'll be at the Red Carpet of 'Man of Steel' with my lovely son, Matt.  My neice asked me to touch Superman as my Pin for the week and write about it in my blog.  I asked her "With or without getting arrested?"  "Either way" she replied.  Yikes what a challenge.  What if the only star from the film there is Russell Crowe.  Does that count, I wonder?

"Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it" - Salvador Dali

Friday, 14 June 2013

Yummy Lip Stuff

My daughter and I are making some lip products for her friends to try.  The first recipe we used was for lip balm.

This Week's Pin:  Lip Balm
Who's This For?:  My daughter and a few special girlfriends
Price: So very hard to calculate, but I'll guess -
Beeswax 20 cents; Rice Bran Oil 5 cents; Shea Butter 35 cents;
Coconut Oil 80 cents
Roughly estimated grand total $1.40 for 6!!
The little tubs were $2.80 a pair (from Daiso) but I know I can find cheaper ones next time.

In a plastic take away container we placed 2 tablespoons of bees wax.  Now, the recipe (from stated that it should be grated but after a while I got fed up and cut it into small chunks.  Then we added 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil and 2 teaspoons of Rice Bran Oil (the recipe asked for almond oil but I had this Rice Bran Oil handy) and 1/2 teaspoon of Shea Butter (with Vitamin E).  I added 1/2 teaspoon of caster sugar for a little sweetness and I did not add any colour or lipstick to the recipe because I wanted the girls to have just a plain lip balm that they could try immediately at school and not get detention for wearing lipstick!

After 10 minutes of stirring with a bamboo skewer the little chunky bits of bees wax were still not melted.  Ugh, I should have grated it after all.  So I topped it up with freshly heated water and kept stirring.  Another 10 minutes later we decided to give up and pour it in the containers (or, in my daughter's words, "Chuck it in").  Yes, there were still waxy lumps but we wanted to get to the finished product and try it out.  I added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for flavour and poured into jars.  Next time will put more vanilla as the Coconut Oil smothers the vanilla flavour with coconut.

My son created little labels for us to stick on the jars.  Really cute.  We then wrote a quick questionnaire for the girls to fill in.  I'll compile the responses and provide the feedback later.

We had spare time left in the kitchen.  What else will we make?  Lip scrub!  The Pin showed each ingredient in equal measures, but I changed that.  Don't know why, just did.

Jacqui put the following into a plastic tub:  1 tablespoon of brown sugar; 1/2 teaspoon of Rice Bran Oil and 1/4 teaspoon of honey.  She mixed it with a spoon and added a tiny dash of vanilla.  Into the little jars!  So, you grab a little clump of this mixture and rub on your lips.  It softens and then melts while buffing away dead skin.  Then, you can just lick it off!

Yum, yum, yum!  Everything smells lovely, feels great and was so simple.  Yes, except for that melting wax bit, need to melt wax first then add other ingredients next time.

The only problem we have is that we don't have enough jars for every girl in Year 8! Nonetheless, they're bagged up and ready to go to school for a few special friends to try.

And the comments are back:

Alaina said about the lip balm, "Why's it all lumpy?"
Sorry Alaina, we didn't melt the wax enough before we started.  We will do better next time.  Rub the lip balm to melt it a little before you apply.  Still works like a charm.

Tess said, also about the lip balm "Smells good".
The coconut oil and the vanilla go well together, don't they?

Anusha said about the lip scrub "Tastes like sugar".
Yep, simple ingredients, all natural and taste yummy.  When the jar's empty, clean it properly and make some yourself.

These fresh products need to be used within 3 months.

Thanks for your help Jacqui.  Next week, well I don't know what I'm making next week but when I've decided you'll know.


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Household Cleaner

Week  Pin: Bathroom Cleaner
Original Source:
Who's This For?:  Me
Price: Fairy Dishwashing Liquid $3.99 and Vinegar 2 litres $1.09 both from Coles Supermarket

Last week there were lots of lovely photos to look at.  This week, in the words of Julia Roberts from the movie Notting Hill, it's all talk, talk, talk.

I have a lovely friend who runs a very classy bed and breakfast in her house in Lorne, along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.  She keeps the guest rooms spotlessly clean.  She has white bedlinen, white doona covers, white walls and the most sparkling, clean white bathrooms like I've never seen anywhere else.  I don't this have talent for cleaning and I struggle with cleaning often enough to keep things looking like new.  There are many Pinterest pins with cleaning products so I hope to make one that might actually work.

I'm happy to pay for supermarket cleaners as long as they do their job and don't harm anyone in my house (my daughter has asthma).  Any bathroom cleaner that stops me from breathing when I use it is not welcome in my house.  I also dislike bleach.  In fact, I refuse to buy it for any purpose.  I'd like to try something less harmful that will still clean my bathroom.

The common recipe in many Pins is Vinegar and Dawn washing liquid.  The above Pin, from uses these ingredients.  I'll google whether or not there is an Australian product similar to Dawn.  BRB, I'll ask Mr Google.

So the internet says that Dawn is called Fairy in Australia.  Apparently, it's a concentrated cleaner that removes oil spills from the oceans, grease from driveways and cleans crystal glasses.  I regularly use a lovely dishwashing liquid that has low sodium, is cruelty free in a recycled bottle and makes very little suds.  I've read this is better for the environment but it makes my husband use twice as much because he just can't understand how it cleans without bubbles up to his elbows.  I tell myself that I'm helping the environment with less suds.

The acid in vinegar is the 'magic' that kills germs but remember, with every cleaner there always has to be agitation (rubbing, scrubbing or movement) and therefore elbow grease.  Surfectants and detergents won't work if they just sit there.

With the ingredients at the ready, I've mixed up a batch to try on my ceramic floor tiles and boy, do I have a lot of those.  The environmentally friendly floor cleaner (yes, the low suds kind) does a good job on my floors but every so often I have to scrub the grout on my hands and knees with a brush as mopping hardly reaches the dirt in the grout.  With a bit of luck, this new 'recipe' will help clean the grout and the tiles at the same time.  I carefully measured one squirt of Fairy, with two glugs of vinegar and filled the mop bucket half way up with hot water.

I've got a nifty little brush (from Kmart $2) that you fill with soap and it fits in the palm of your hand.  I filled it with the mixture and ran the brush over the grout twice and you'll have to take my word for it, but WOW!  See if you can tell the difference in the photos of before and after.  The grout on the right hand side has not been touched, but the left hand side shows how it looked after a quick scrub.

So, using the mop and bucket, I did the entire room.  It cleaned the tiles and the grout well (not quite as well as the brush, but a definite improvement) and the room smelled of apple juice.  It did feel a little slippery underfoot when it was wet and I wonder whether I need to rinse after washing (ugh, more mopping).  I have to say though, it was a great result.

I'm going to fill a squirty bottle and see how it works on my venetian blinds and then try the shower.  This week's Pin was definitely worth the effort.

My lovely friend Robyn is picking up some beeswax for me.  So next week with a bit of luck, I'll try a Pin recipe for lip balm.

"I hate housework!  You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again."  Joan Rivers