07 October 2016

Disneyland ... or bust!

Hellooooooo!!! It's been very quiet around here lately… if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll probably know why. We’re on a big family vacation in the USA, enjoying our time here and ticking off a few items from the bucket list.

After a loooong flight to Honolulu and then a connecting flight to LA, our first stop was to Anaheim and all things Disney. We got in past midnight on the first day, so everyone had a sleep-in and with the time change and jet lag, we didn't get moving until after noon the next day.

We bought a 4 day Disney pass so visited the “happiest place on earth”, that first afternoon. It is as magical as you imagine it to be. The kids were excited to be there and before long, we were queuing up for rides. We started off with “It's a small world” where we sit in little boats and go around a course, visiting different parts of the world while the song “it's a small world” plays over and over and over… it was a good starting point for me and I figured that I had this ride caper all sorted.

The carousel is my preferred style of ride. Slow, happy with 2 feet firmly planted on the ground..., but somehow I was convinced to go on the Matterhorn roller coaster! Insanity I tell you. Absolute insanity. My son was up front, my daughter was second and I was in the 3rd seat behind them. I don't remember much about the ride other than yelling at them to “hold on” and opening one eye in the daylight sections to ensure they hadn't flown out around a corner and were both still there in their seats.

We stayed until the sun was setting and decided to have dinner at Denny's. My husband had fond memories of this chain of family restaurants when he visited the US with his family (about 20 years ago) and we weren't disappointed. Who doesn't love pancakes for dinner?!?

We visited California Adventure Park the next day. It was also a fun day, but I made sure to steer clear of any crazy rides. I really enjoy “Cars” land. The movie “Cars” was released when my son was young so he grew up loving everything ”Cars” and we’ve probably seen the film about a bazillion times.

Dinner was at a chicken and waffle house. Yes my Aussie friends, chicken and waffles… together! It was my little lady's choice and the waitress was surprised to hear that we’d never eaten chicken and waffles before. Honestly, it's not my favourite combination, but my girl ticked an item off of her US trip bucket list.

We took a day off Disney and went to Target and Walmart stores. These are different to what we have in Australia as not only do they sell clothing, honewares etc, but also groceries and alcohol. I found some red heart yarn at Walmart which just HAD to come home with me. Oh and DMC embroidery floss at 33c - bargain!!!

We spent another couple of days at Disneyland and enjoyed the parade as well as the fireworks over the Disney castle on our last night there.

Disneyland is an expensive place to visit, but worth it for the wonderful family memories which we created. Anaheim is a lovely town. Super clean, everyone is happy, friendly and it feels safe to walk around after dark. Anaheim is well set up for the amount of annual visitors with lots of accommodation options for all budgets and holiday types. Most of the hotels/motels include a buffet continental breakfast in their rates, which is a perfect way to fuel up and start the day. We grabbed some extra apples and bananas to eat during the day, but I did see people helping themselves to bread, peanut butter and jams, to make themselves packed lunches for their day outings.

My suggestion would be to book a hotel which has a guest laundry room. After almost a week at Disneyland, it was great to be able to get some laundry done before heading to our next stop.

Also another way to help the family stay within budget, visit the nearby Target to buy the kids the Disney hats, caps, shirts, drinking cups, souvenirs etc… it's all Disney licensed product, but at a fraction of the price.

Next stop… Las Vegas...

23 September 2016

EPP Kindle Case

I love Elea Lutz's fabrics and decided to combine some of her Strawberry Biscuit ranges with her newest range called Apple Farm to create this cute little EPP Kindle Case. 

The fabrics work beautifully together, so if you'd like to create an EPP Kindle Case too, gather your EPP supplies and visit the Penny Rose Blog where I have shared the instructions on how I made my EPP Kindle Case.

I love to read. Admittedly, I usually prefer to read actual paper books and visit my local library regularly. We're off on a big family holiday to the US and rather than carting around books, I'll be taking my Kindle E-Reader with me. The first leg of the flight is around 11 hours, so I'll certainly have plenty of time to read. This little case will be perfect to keep my Kindle cozy and unscratched in my handbag.

12 September 2016

Scrappy Churn Pillow featuring Bittersweet Fabric (TUTORIAL)

If there was ever a range of fabric, suited to scrappy projects, I think Bittersweet would be high up in the top 10 list. The geometrics work beautifully with the florals and the colours are all so vibrant... and just happy. 

The Churn Dash block is one of my favourites. It's traditional, but can be jazzed up with modern fabrics for a contemporary look. I thought I'd take another step sideways, and create a large scrappy churn block to use for a pillow.

If you'd like to create a scrappy churn dash pillow like this one, I'm including the cutting guide below.

06 September 2016

Toffee's for the fair (Recipe)

It's the school fair this weekend and if the weather holds out, it'll be Ahhhh-mazing! The organisers this year are enthusiastic with tonnes of new ideas for stalls and fun activities for the kids (and kids at heart).

Every year, each family at the school receives an empty cake box with a request to bake something to donate to the cake stall. I love the cake stall. It's probably my favourite. One year I got lucky and bought a pineapple upside-down cake - glacè cherries included.

With memories of cake stalls of my childhood, I've decided to make good old fashioned toffees. I shared images over on Instagram, but it seems only my Aussie friends knew what they were. 

So... I'm here to share the recipe for this sweet treat. A regular at Aussie school fetes and cake stalls for decades.

Toffee Recipe

3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
Rainbow sprinkles, nuts or coconut (to decorate)

First step is to lay out paty pans on a tray. I used approximately 20 mini ones, but it'll depend how big you want to make them.

Pour all of the ingredients into a medium size saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat and once the sugar mixture begins to boil, stop stirring. Allow the sugar to boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a minute while the bubbles subside.

It's super hot, so very carefully spoon into patty pans. Sprinkle with 100's & 1000's, crushed nuts or coconut.

Allow to set for a few hours and then enjoy. They will stick your teeth together... but hey, it's all part of the fun.

01 September 2016

Spring 2016

The first of September marks the first day of Spring here in Australia. We've had a remarkably warm winter with above average rainfall. Our crop of broccoli and cabbages is enormous. Stone fruit trees are blossoming and my flower beds are looking quite spectacular with their rainbow blooms.

I have a few Pierre De Ronsard rose bushes beside my side fence. My husband put up some wiring along the fence line to help the plant grow up and flower... and flowering, they are. 

These roses are my absolute favourites. They're unscented (boo!) but I love cutting and displaying them in old recycled jam jars, around my home.

For my birthday (earlier in the year), my super wonderful and amazing husband bought me a macro lens for my camera. Honestly, I haven't use it very much but it was just blind luck that I had that lens on the camera when a bee decided to visit the flower I was photographing. 

Have you seen 'Bee Movie'? I imagined the bee saying "Good Morning. How's your day going?" in a Jerry Seinfeld voice.

My Iceberg roses seem to attract families of aphids. Large, extended families with hundreds of children. Other than physically removing them, one by one, we can't seem to get rid of them. If you have any advice or home remedies on aphid removal, I'd love to hear them.

How's your garden blooming right now? 

Coming into spring or dry after a long hot summer?

What do you have growing in your flower beds? 

Is your garden organised or random planting (like mine!!)?