Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easter treats

Last week I was asked by Countdown Supermarkets to come up with a couple of Easter baking treats to share. I do my weekly groceries shop at Countdown using their online delivery service (LOVE this service) and have done so for a few years now so it was great to be asked to share some ideas! I'm all for baking that is easy and that appeals to kids so I chose two recipes that will be handy for you to have-  it's always good to have an easy cupcake recipe for kids parties or celebrations/ holidays/ birthdays, and a basic sugar cookie recipe will always come in handy too. So my two recipes are:

Easter Egg Nest Chocolate Cupcakes
Easter Egg Cookies
Thanks to Countdown I was able to buy the goodies in this pic to make my two recipes- they have a huge range of Easter treats in store now, plus they always have a great range of baking and decorating products. 
I spotted so many great Easter eggs for the kids when I was in there the other day so I thought I'd share some of them with you as well...
All Blacks easter egg, Peter Rabbit, Lindt Pirate Bunny and Easter Egg, Fire Station easter egg box
Ferero Rocher Bunny (one for us mums :), Kinder Surprise Maxi egg with toy, Robin Edible Eggs (comes with pens that you can decorate the eggs with), Mr Men book and easter eggs
I also spotted these cut out bunnies - only $4 for 25 sheets of them which I'm going to use for my next kids craft class, and would also be ideal for teachers! Countdown also had some cute little buckets so I bought this mint one for our easter egg hunt.

So here are my recipes...

Easter Egg Cookies
Kids will love these as they can have fun decorating them using icing pens and cake decorations.

125g butter, softened
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1 egg
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
Icing pens ( I bought the box of glitter pens and the trio of chocolate icing pens)
Soft sugar pearl cake decorations
Pettinice ready to roll fondant icing
Water or glucose syrup

Preheat oven to 160 C or 140 C fan
Line two baking trays with baking paper
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix
Add the flours and fold in to form a dough
Place your dough on a piece of baking paper and add another piece of baking paper on top
Roll your dough to about 5mm thick
Using an easter egg shaped cookie cutter cut out eggs and place on the prepared baking trays
Re-roll dough and repeat until you've used all the dough
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden
Cool on a wire rack
Roll out a chunk of the Pettinice icing as thin as possible and use the easter egg cookie cutter to again cut out egg shapes. Use either water (brush onto the back of the fondant eggs) or glucose syrup to stick the fondant egg to the cookie. This is optional- you could just leave the cookies as is to decorate.
Decorate using the icing pens and sprinkles

Easter Egg Nest Chocolate Cupcakes

These delicious chocolate treats are perfect for Easter and your kids will love the little nest of eggs!

Makes approx 18 medium sized cupcakes

1 and a half cups of Self Raising Flour
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup of milk
2 eggs
125g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract.

1. Preheat oven to 180oC conventional or 160oC fan-bake. 

2. Line cupcake tins with 18 cupcake cases
3. Melt butter. 
4. Put all ingredients in a bowl and beat on medium speed for five minutes
5. Spoon tablespoon size into muffin tins or cup cake cases.   I find an ice-cream scoop the perfect size to fill the cupcake cases- one big scoop per cupcake is enough.
Bake for approx 15 minutes or until cakes spring back lightly when touched- or check using skewer. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

100grams softened butter
2 cups Icing Sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon hot water

1. Cream the butter until pale and fluffy
2. Beat in the icing sugar ( I use an electric beater) one cup at a time
3. Add the hot water if needed
4. Use an icing bag with icing tip (you can buy these at Countdown- look for 'disposable icing bags' - they come with different icing tips.) Cut the pointy part of the bag off (see pic) 
and place tip inside the bag and push it through the hole you've cut.  
Fill up the bag with the chocolate icing
5. Ice your cupcakes
6. Decorate using broken pieces of flake to make the nest, and add two mini eggs on top, or one mini creme egg

I hope you like these recipes - would love to hear if you make either or both of them! Countdown is going to help you with that by giving every mousehouse reader a $5 off voucher to use with your next online order! (just put the code in the box that says 'coupon code' at check out)

Here's the code : YUM

And check out Countdown's Pinterest Page for loads more delicious recipe ideas http://www.pinterest.com/countdownnz/ 
and for Easter recipes their "Eggscellent Easter" pin board is full of great ideas!  http://www.pinterest.com/countdownnz/eggscellent-easter/

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY Personalised Photo Art

If you would like to make your own personalised photo art for your child here's a quick 'how to'- (I'm writing how to do the ones with the writing down the side of the child but as long as your child wears a blank t-shirt you could follow these instructions to do one like Amelie's). These are such a great way of capturing your child's personality at a certain age, and looks fantastic framed and on the wall! These ones are A4 size but you could always do smaller or larger.
1. Take a photo of your child in front of a blank wall-  it doesn't have to be white as you can change the font colour so you can still see the words. You want room on one side of your child to type the words so when you take the photo make sure you have some blank space to the left or right of your child (i.e. don't take the photo with your child in the exact centre).
2. I use a Mac computer so I download my photo into iPhoto - you might like to play around with the exposure to brighten the photo background ( I forgot to do this with Jack's so I'll be reprinting it as the background has come out quite grey even though he was against a white wall).  
3. Now open up the application 'Pages' (or similar word processing application) 
4. Open a new document, add the photo from the 'media' tab onto your page and stretch it to make it as big as the page
5. Choose a font and colour and type the words down one side of your child. I use a separate text box for each sentence so I can play around with the size to fit it next to the photo.
Here are some sentence starters for you...

'who likes'
'who loves'
who plays'
'who needs
'who wants'
'who sings'
'who doesn't like'
'who says'
'who watches'
'who makes'
'who wants'
Any questions please ask, would love to hear if you make one!
Megan x

Monday, February 16, 2015

DIY Pin Board with Scotch® Expressions Tape

For my last project as part of the Scotch® Expressions Tape 'Back to School' campaign I was asked to come up with a tutorial for making a school pin board using Scotch® Expressions Tapes.  I loved doing this as I think pin boards are a great addition to a child's bedroom for their treasures and keepsakes, and to keep them organised and tidy as well! I remembered this noticeboard tutorial I wrote a few years ago now http://domesticblissnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/10/my-creative-space-handy-noticeboard.html with the plastic pocket along the bottom of the noticeboard and it made me think I could do the same thing, but much easier and quicker, with the Scotch® Expressions Tapes, in particular the Scotch® Expressions Duct Tape. So here is a tutorial for how to make this colourful and practical pin board for your child, or even for yourself- a bigger one would be great as a family organiser with a calendar, household essentials, and a place for invitations, cards, school notices etc…

DIY Pin Board with Scotch® Expressions Tape Tutorial

You will need:
*a pin board - this square one is from Warehouse Stationery- you can also find them at Spotlight, or office supply stores, or go to Bunnings and get a sheet of Pinex and cut it the size you want.
*Scotch® Expressions Duct Tape- I used their cute red and white polka dot one- you can find all the Scotch® Expressions Tapes at Warehouse Stationery
*Scotch® Expressions masking tape - I used this lovely coral red coloured one
* Scotch® Expressions Washi Tape- I used their bright neon pink washi tape
* Scotch® Expressions Magic Tape in multicoloured polka dots
* bulldog clip
*hook push pins (I got these from Bunnings in the picture hook aisle)
*push pins
*PVC clear tablecloth plastic for the pocket- enough to cover the width of your noticeboard plus enough to go around the back of the board, and height of around 10cm plus enough to go around the bottom of the board

1. Cover your pin board with the Scotch® Expressions Duct Tape

2. Lay your piece of tablecloth plastic across the bottom of your board

3. Flip your board over and use pieces of Scotch® Expressions Duct Tape to attach the plastic to the board- don't pull it too tight as that will make it tricky to get things in and out of the pocket.

4. Flip your board back over and tape a stripe or two of Scotch® Expressions Washi Tape across the top of the pocket.

5. Use your Scotch® Expressions masking tape and Scotch® Expressions Magic tape to make some dividers on your board (I layered the magic tape on top of the masking tape).

6. Use a push pin to attach your bulldog clip to the pin board.
7. Choose where you would like to put the push pin hooks on the board.
8. Pop some things in the pocket that your child uses regularly, and let them choose a few things they would like to put on the board- certificates, photos, a timetable….anything goes!

And this week is the last week of the Scotch® Expressions Tape 'Back to School' campaign so head on over to the Scotch Australia and New Zealand Facebook Page and click on the 'Back to School' link to see lots more awesome tutorials, plus the chance to win a $100 prezzy card by sharing your own creations! I hope you've enjoyed seeing my three tutorials, including my 

You can also follow Scotch® Australia and New Zealand on Instagram
and on Pinterest

Happy crafting!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

DIY Homework Clock with Scotch® Expressions Tapes

For my second blog post as part of the Scotch® Expressions Tape 'Back to School' promotion I was asked to come up with some crafty ideas for a DIY homework clock. This was a fun thing to do as it is really easy to change a store bought clock to one that suits you or your child's style using the Scotch® Expressions Tapes. And each of the clocks I decorated took less than 5 minutes to make! Scotch® has a huge range of gorgeous tapes now- I love the bright colours of their new masking tapes and their washi tapes and Duct Craft tapes range mean there are endless colourful possibilities for your decorating projects.

For this project I bought this 'Route 66' clock from The Warehouse. (It was on sale so was only $10). If you are wanting to do this project just look for a frameless clock like the one I bought, or find one where you can easily remove the clock face from the frame. 
Then all you need to do is go to Warehouse Stationery or any other store that sells Scotch® Expressions Tapes, choose your favourites and away you go!

Idea one- Colourful Striped Clock

This colourful clock which would look great in a child's bedroom or even in a classroom.  
I used a mix of 
* Scotch® Expressions Washi Tape (the green and yellow ones)
*Scotch® Expressions Magic Tape (the blue and polka dot ones)
Starting at the top or the bottom of the clock, simply tape strips along the clock, taping the ends of the clock around the sides and onto the back of the clock. Repeat using different tapes and colours in your desired pattern.

Idea Two: Modern Spots Clock

This stylish clock would also look great in a child's room as well, but would look equally cute somewhere else in your home, especially if you have a nook or a place designated to homework!
For this clock I simply taped strips of this gorgeous patterned blue Scotch® Expressions Masking Tape. Then I had the idea to use some bright pink spot stickers to make the 'numbers' of the clock. 

Idea Three: Super Hero Clock
For this fun clock perfect for any superhero loving children I used two of the Scotch® Expressions Duct Craft Tapes- the Batman tape and the Superman tape,  and the fun Scotch® Expressions 'POW' washi tape. I taped the top half of the clock with the Batman tape, the bottom half with the Superman tape, and then ran two pieces of the 'Pow' tape across the middle of the clock.
And here are some more fun ideas for more clock decorating with Scotch® Expressions Tapes- I love the top left one in particular!
Top left: www.pinterest.com/pin/541909767634572579
Top right: www.pinterest.com/pin/155796468334749481
Bottom left: www.pinterest.com/pin/5559199514814714
Bottom right: www.pinterest.com/pin/426012445974859712

So there you go, are you looking at your clock now and wishing you had a roll or two of washi tape….?!

And if you would like to make your own clock, or any other project using Scotch® Expressions Tapes then why not take part in the Scotch®  Tape Promotion ' Back to School' by submitting your own Tape creations (you'll be in to win a $100 Prezzy card if you do!) -  head over to the Scotch Australia and New Zealand Facebook page where you can enter via the Facebook app. There are loads more tape ideas and tutorials on the Scotch Australia and New Zealand Facebook page.

Thanks for reading and happy crafting :)

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