Thursday, December 27, 2012

How To Use Christmas Leftovers



Cooked too much over Christmas? Follow these cooking tips to get the most out of your leftovers!
  • Leftover turkey should be sliced and placed in a container with a lid. Make sure you refrigerate within one hour of cooling. It will keep for 3-4 days. It will also freeze for up to two months
  • Turkey carcasses make the perfect stocks, but not if you've stuffed your turkey. Instead use leg bones and wings that have not come in contact with the stuffing to make flavoursome stocks. Use in risottos and soups
  • If you've glazed a ham, make sure you cover the cut part of the ham with greaseproof paper and a clean tea towel or muslin ham bag before refrigerating. Glazed hams will keep, refrigerated, for up to one week
  • Ham bones should be stripped of excess meat and frozen for use in soups in the cooler weather.
  • Christmas pudding will keep, refrigerated, for three months and up to six months, frozen
  • Fruit mince pies freeze really well. Make sure you defrost it thoroughly and warm them gently through in a low oven before serving
  • Use leftover cheeses such as blue cheese or cheddar in a cheese crock. Place softened, unsalted butter, grated cheese, a little sherry and Dijon mustard, to taste, in a bowl and beat with an electric beater until smooth. Place the mixture in ramekins and serve at room temperature with crackers

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas... From The Bride's Diary



The Bride's Diary Team extends our very best wishes for the Festive Season, to all our members and clients. We truly hope you have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year celebration.

We look forward to a wonderful 2013, and can't wait to bring you more exciting new additions to our publications and online features! Also, we will be launching a brand new website for The Bride's Diary – with a new design, fabulous content and so much more, all will be revealed shortly!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support and interest in The Bride's Diary, The Groom’s Diary, Wedding Celebration, Weddingstar and Giftstar. And once again, have a wonderful festive season.

Warm regards, The Bride's Diary Team

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wedding Vows


The written word has a very deep and profound meaning. Calligraphers can turn your vows into treasured keepsakes, distinguish your stationery, and embellish everything from your place cards to your menus. 

Your wedding vows might just be the most important words you ever say to each other. To turn those heartfelt sentiments into heirlooms, have a calligrapher write them on monogrammed paper. Read them during the ceremony, then display them at home by putting them in a frame or even add them to a special box full of memories. 

This way, you'll never forget the words you both spoke to each from the bottom of your heart on one of the most important days of your lives. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rustic DIY Style Signs For Your Wedding



The addition of a sign or message board to your wedding ceremony and/or reception is a lovely way to keep guests informed and to add another stylish element to your setting. 

Perfect for outdoor weddings, why make your own sign using scrap wood or plywood? Grab a thick permanent marker or some paint, and you're ready to DIY - it's that simple!

Sign posts can be helpful for guests to find their way to your ceremony, or to point to important areas in your reception (restrooms, accommodation, bar, dancefloor). You could even write a lovely poem or message that you feel speaks to you both as a couple. 

The possibilities are endless! We love the ideas shown in the above image...

(Image via pinterest)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Choc-Coconut Christmas Balls


These small truffle-like treats are made from only 5 ingredients and make a great edible gift, or dessert option for your Christmas party.

Ingredients:

  • 250g packet plain sweet biscuits
  • 180g block dark chocolate, chopped
  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 100g packet red glace cherries, chopped
Method:

Step 1:
Line a large tray with baking paper. 

Process biscuits until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
Transfer to a bowl.

Step 2:
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. 
Microwave on medium-high (75%) for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring with a metal spoon every 30 seconds, or until smooth.

Step 3:
Add chocolate, condensed milk, 1/2 cup coconut and cherries to biscuit. 
Mix to combine. 
Place remaining coconut in a bowl. 
Using damp hands, roll 1 level tablespoon mixture into a ball. 
Toss in coconut to coat. 
Place on prepared tray. 
Repeat with remaining mixture and coconut. 
Serve.

Recipe featured in Super Food Ideas/Taste.com.au, recipe by Kim Coverdale.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Create Your Own Thank You Cards



For a cute twist on personalised thank-you notes, send gift-givers postcards of you and your groom wearing clothing with a message. 

We came across this fantastic idea on Martha Stewart Weddings.

Below is what you will need:
  • 3-inch high stick on vinyl lettering (or iron-on letters, available at Spotlight or most craft stores) 
  • 2 x plain t-shirts
  • Digital camera
  • Photo printer (or have photos printed at your local shopping centre)
  • Xyron sticker machine or double-sided tape/craft glue
  • A6 postcards
Method:
  1. Use 3-inch-high stick-on vinyl lettering, peel off the backing, and affix the letters to plain shirts. If using iron-on letters we find that loosely sewing the letters on before ironing them on helps to keep them in place
  2. Ask a friend to take digital pictures
  3. Upload your favourite image to a computer and print onto photo paper. You can run the photos through a Xyron sticker machine, which adds an adhesive backing. Alternatively, buy some double-sided tape or craft glue and stick each photo to a blank size-A6 postcard
  4. You now have picture-perfect thank you cards to send to all your guests, with space to write a personalised message on the back
Another idea is to use a favourite image from your wedding day or honeymoon pictures. You could even go as far as to include a personalised photo taken of each guest/group of guests with you on your wedding day - a great keepsake for loved ones to remember celebrating your special day with you!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Choc-honeycomb Ice-cream Pudding

Make dessert the centrepiece this Christmas with a show-stopping ice-cream pudding that's delicious and easy to make! We just know your guests will love this one!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 x 300g packets chocolate sponge rolls (useda chocolate cream-filled sponge roll from the bakery department of the supermarket. Allow overnight to freeze)
  • 2L Hokey Pokey ice-cream, softened
  • 2 x 55g Violet Crumble bars, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry-roasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 180g block white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
  • Halved strawberries, white chocolate curls and silver cachous, to decorate 
Method:

Step 1:

Line an 8 cup-capacity pudding basin with plastic wrap. Cut chocolate rolls into 1cm thick slices. Reserve 4 slices. Line base and side of prepared pan with remaining cake slices, trimming to fit.

Step 2:

Place ice-cream in a bowl. Fold in Violet Crumble and hazelnuts. Spoon into prepared pan. Level top with a spatula. Arrange reserved cake slices on top of ice-cream, pressing slightly to secure. Cover with plastic wrap, then foil. Freeze overnight.


Step 3:

Place chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50%) for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth, stirring with a metal spoon every 30 seconds. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly.

Step 4:

Turn pudding onto a plate. Remove plastic wrap. Spoon 1/3 of the chocolate sauce over pudding. Stand for 5 minutes. Decorate with strawberries, chocolate curls and cachous. Serve with remaining chocolate sauce.


Recipe from Super Food Ideas Magazine, Recipe by Kim Coverdale.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Get The Perfect Pedicure This Summer With Orly



Before you step out of your ballet flats and slide into your new summer sandals, give your feet a little TLC with these at-home pedicure tips from celebrity manicurist and ORLY Professional Nail Care’s Australian Ambassador, Fiona Hay:

STEP 1: SOAK
Fill your bowl with warm water, adding your favourite shower gel or essential oils and place it on bath mat in front of a comfortable chair. Soak feet for a few minutes, which will help remove old polish and make trimming nails much easier as they are softer, and less prone to splitting.

STEP 2: TRIM
Remove one foot from the water, towel dry and remove any old polish. Then, trim nails if necessary by cutting straight across, once from each side, into the centre. Using your file, file straight across the top, then round off sharp corners. Next, buff the surface of the nail to remove any ridges and shine.

STEP 3: CUTICLE CARE
Next, apply ORLY Cutique generously to the cuticle area to soften cuticles and if you like, on heels as well before using a pedi paddle. While this is working, use a foot scrub to exfoliate the skin on your feet, and pedi paddle on calloused areas. Gently push cuticles back with your cuticle pusher or orangewood stick, to remove any excess skin that has grown over the nail. Then, repeat with your other foot.

STEP 4: MOISTURISE
Towel dry feet well. If you notice any excess cuticles, gently remove them using a cuticle nipper. Next, massage cuticle oil into the nails, concentrating on the cuticle area. Massage foot or body lotion to the entire foot and lower leg.

STEP 5: PREPARE TO PAINT
Use a cotton pad moistened with nail polish remover to remove all oils from the nail plate. Wind rolled tissue between the toes to separate, or use toe separators if your have them.

Apply ORLY Primetime to the nails, this will help with removing any oils remaining, balance the pH level of the nails to help your polish last longer.

STEP 6: POLISH, FINISH & PROTECT
Apply ORLY Bonder base coat, this provides the perfect surface for your polish to anchor to and also helps prevent staining. Then, apply two coats of your favourite ORLY nail lacquer, using thin, even strokes across the nail bed. ORLY Pixy Stix is a great pastel pink crème that looks great on toes. When it’s time for your top coat, apply ORLY Polishield - a fast drying, high shine, and resilient top coat.

Lastly, apply a drop of ORLY Flash Dry to each nail. This product will give you a touch-dry pedicure in just 60 seconds, so you’re ready to step out with a perfect pedicure in no time.


Visit ORLY.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Love Heart Seating Plan Board

Feeling crafty? Why not try out this simple step-by-step guide to making a name place/message board for your wedding reception? A very cost effective, clever way to impress your guests!


Tools and Materials:
  • Paper Source 8 1/2-by-11-inch cardstock 
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • 4-by-4-foot paper 
  • 4-by-4-foot lauan board
  • 1-inch white panel nails 
  • 1/8-inch white nylon cord 
  • 8 1/2-by-11-inch card stock
How-To:

1. Fold the paper in two, draw half a heart against the crease, and cut it out. Trace it onto board, then hammer in nails 2 inches apart along the outline, leaving about 1/2 inch of each exposed.


2. Knot one end of the cord around the head of one nail (it doesn’t matter which one) to serve as your starting point, then loop from nail to nail across the heart. There’s no wrong way to do it, just make sure to wrap the cord around the exterior a couple of times to de- fine the shape. When you’re done, knot the other end around a nail.


3. Open our editable arrow-card PDF file, add guests’ names and table numbers, print onto card stock in your color of choice, and cut out. Tuck the arrows into the cord, arranging them alphabetically in loose rows, so guests can easily find their names.


DIY inspiration thanks to Martha Stewart Weddings.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DIY Blackboard Accessories For Your Wedding


Chalkboards are a great way to add a casual, vintage touch to your wedding reception. 

We've got some tips below, thanks to Polka Dot Bride, on how to create your own chalkboard accessories to style your wedding!

To create a look such as the below, you will need:
  • Empty wine bottle (washed and dried)
  • Kraft board tags and number (from craft store)
  • Placemat (from craft store)
  • Blackboard paint and brush
  • Chalk

The only trick is to use a fine bristle brush and do thin coats (drying thoroughly in between) so you get a smoother finish that’s easier to write on.

Some ideas of accessories that you can create for your wedding tables (or even at home) include a table number/letters, place mat, candle holders, tags and decorations (can be made from bottles, jars). The possibilities are endless!

Make sure you have some chalk handy, so that guests at your reception can leave a message or drawing at their table.

Visit Polka Dot Bride for more clever DIY ideas!

Photography by Alicia Parsons.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DIY Flower Favour Box



We came across this great tutorial on Once Wed. You can create these gorgeous favour boxes to match your wedding theme and colour. 

Materials
• Card stock box cut-out. Download the template here and follow the instructions on the template sheet.
• Assortment of paper flowers with wired stems in complementary colours (from your local craft store).
• Pen 
• Skeleton leaves, available at craft stores, in the scrapbooking/paper crafting section
• Pin
• Strip of plain white paper, several inches wide
• Bone folder
• Scissors
• Length of  wired ribbon
• Glue stick
• Decorative edge punch
Instructions 
1. Using a bone folder and ruler score and fold box cut-out (use the printed template as a reference).
2. Glue tabs to sides starting with the bottom of the box.
3. If necessary use the bone folder to apply pressure to tabs as the glue adheres and dries.
4. Gather a small bunch of paper flowers, forming them into a dome-like arrangement.
Secure with a small piece of wire (you can trim a piece from one of the stems).
5. Trim stems to desired length – remember they’ll be inserted into the box, so they should be relatively short depending on what you want to put inside the box. Using wired ribbon, wrap stems to completely conceal them.
6. Fasten ribbon with pin.
7. Punch along the edges of the strip of plain white paper, and write desired message or name of recipient down the center. 
8. Fold top flaps of box as shown.
9. Insert bouquet into opening in box, and affix the white paper banner using a glue stick.  

Visit Once Wed

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Heart-shaped Jam Cookies



Show mum how much you care this Mother's Day and bake her these delicious heart-shaped jam cookies! 

Ingredients (makes 16)
1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
3/4 cup (85g) almond meal
1/3 cup (60g) icing sugar mixture
125g chilled butter, chopped
1 egg
1 tbs milk
100g dark chocolate
1 cup (315g) raspberry jam
2 tbs water   

How To
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Place the flour, almond meal, icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  

2. Add the egg and milk and process until just combined. Gently knead until mixture just comes together. Shape into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. 


3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick disc. Use a 7cm-diameter heart-shaped pastry cutter to cut out 32 shapes from the pastry. Place on the lined trays. Use a 4cm-diameter heart- shaped pastry cutter to cut out shapes from half the hearts. Place on the lined trays. Bake in preheated oven, swapping trays halfway though cooking, for 8-10 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside on trays to cool.  

4. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir occasionally with a metal spoon until the chocolate is completely melted and is smooth. 

 

5. Place the melted chocolate in a small plastic bag. Use scissors to snip the end. Drizzle chocolate over the heart rounds. Set aside for 15 minutes to set.

 

6. Combine the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until jam melts and is smooth. Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Discard seeds. Use a small pallete knife to spread a little of the jam over a large heart biscuit. Top with a chocolate-drizzled heart. Continue with remaining biscuits. Use a teaspoon to spoon the remaining hot jam into the centre of each heart. Set aside for 30 minutes to set. Store in an airtight container. 

Visit Homelife

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mother's Day Cushion

 
 

Surprise your mum this Mother’s Day with a little piece of homemade love. Modern and elegant, this silk cushion will remind her just how much you care.   

What you will need
Sewing machine
Iron
Scissors
50cm of fabric for the cover
30cm of patterned fabric for lettering
Three buttons
45x40cm cushion insert
Heavyweight iron-on interfacing
Fusible webbing
Pinking shears
Thread (all from fabric stores)

How To
1. Iron the cover fabric, then lay flat on your work surface. Cut three pieces: 50x45cm (Panel A); 50x35cm (Panel B); 50x15cm (Panel C). Panel A includes a 5cm seam allowance, B and C include 6cm.

2. Turn and press a 1cm hem along one long side of panel B and one long side of panel C. Turn the pressed hem over a further 2.5cm; press and sew. Measure and mark a buttonhole in the centre of the hem on Panel C, then measure 10cm either side of the centre buttonhole and mark two more buttonholes on either side. Sew and split the buttonholes open.

3. Cut a piece of interfacing to size, then iron onto the back of the lettering fabric. Draw onto the interfaced side and use the pencil and ruler to mark a guideline for the letters: parallel lines 5cm apart. Draw backwards-facing capital letters spelling out 'mother' or your mother's name. Use the pinking shears to cut out each letter.

4. Lay Panel A flat on an ironing board, right-side up; smooth any wrinkles. Measure 20cm down from one long side and lay the ruler horizontally as a guide for the letters. Starting in the middle, arrange the letters in order, ensuring the word is centered. Cut small strips of fusible webbing then iron on to fix letters in place.
.
 

5. Starting with a central piece and working outwards, use your sewing machine to applique around the edge of each letter. Press the entire panel.

6. Lay Panel A, right-side up, flat. Line up the raw, long edge of Panel C with the top edge of panel A, right sides in. Line up the raw, long edge of panel B with the bottom edge of panel A, right sides in. The hemmed side of panel B should sit just over the buttonhole edge of panel C.


7. Pin around all sides and sew panels together. Snip the tip off each corner, press the seams and turn cover right-side out. Press again; place the cushion insert inside and add the buttons. 

Visit Homelife

Monday, April 30, 2012

Basil Pesto Chicken



Throw this tasty dish together for dinner tonight and you'll have the whole family asking for more!   

Ingredients (serves 2)
200g dried fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 single chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 cup cream
shaved parmesan, to serve
basil leaves, to serve   

Method
1. Cook fettuccine according to the packet directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until brown.
3. Add pesto, cream, salt and pepper to frying pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly.
4. Drain pasta. Add to pesto mixture. Toss over low heat until well combined. Transfer to serving bowls. Top with parmesan and basil. Serve warm. 

Visit Taste

Monday, April 23, 2012

DIY Wedding Favours Boxes From Weddingstar


So you've found the perfect favour, but now you need a way to package it. With Weddingstar's impressive selection of wedding favour boxes, packaging is so simple. Designed to compliment a range of themes and styles, Weddingstar's unique wedding favour boxes are sure to garner some big reactions of their own. 

Weddingstar's favour boxes come in paper, glass, plastic, tin, and numerous other novelty variations suited for specific themes. The classic white cases in several sizes are great for any occasion and work well as wedding cake favour boxes for your guests to take home.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Powder Blue & Nude Wedding Décor


Powder Blue and Nude Table Decor

This pretty pairing of powder blue and nude is inspired by the sky at daybreak, when soft shades of blue and nude blend together like watercolors. It's peaceful and uplifting, and, above all, it represents a fresh start. 

Martha Stewart explains how to incorporate it into your day… Give your head table the royal treatment by hanging a canopy of sheer, cloudlike fabric overhead. To play up the draped effect, lay pieces of sky-blue linen across the table from chair to chair, to serve as both runners and place mats. Anchor with centre-pieces of dahlias and spray roses, and porcelain vine to bring the ethereal colors to life. Natural wooden Tiffany chairs add a touch of elegance to the theme!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Butterscotch Muffins with Caramel Sauce

 

With a generous drizzling of warm caramel sauce, these buttermilk muffins are an irresistible mid week treat.

Ingredients (makes 12)
2 1/2 (375g) cups self-raising flour
1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) buttermilk
90g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten  

Caramel sauce
3/4 cup (185g) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
40g unsalted butter
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 hole (1/2 cup/125ml capacity) muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Sift flour into a large bowl and stir in sugar. Whisk buttermilk, melted butter and egg together. Add to flour, mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
3. Divide mixture evenly between muffin pans until three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden in colour and cooked when tested. Cool for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire cake rack.
4. Meanwhile, place sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir over low heat with a wooden spoon until sugar has dissolved. Simmer without stirring until a caramel colour. Remove from heat, add butter and brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Carefully add cream to pan - take care as the mixture may spit - and stir until smooth. Cool until slightly thickened. Serve warm muffins drizzled with caramel sauce. 

Visit Taste

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt: 10 Tips For Fun



Alex Brooks from Kidspot has complied 20 fun Easter egg hunt ideas…

Easter egg hunt fun idea #1: Use different coloured eggs by age 
Colour code the eggs you hide according to age so that means the littlies, or the two- to four-year-olds can hunt for blue eggs, while the older kids go for purple. Or have the boys hunt for green and the girls hunt for yellow. It means little kids have an equal chance to find the eggs while also fostering a co-operative spirit amongst the kids who will try to help the others gather the eggs they aren't entitled to.

Easter egg hunt fun idea #2: Add letters to each egg so kids can make words 
Buy some alphabet stickers or write a different letter on the outside of each egg. Set the kids loose on their egg hunt and then offer extra Easter prizes to the kid who makes the longest word from their egg stash. 

Easter egg hunt fun idea #3: Keep a record of the eggs 
It's worth trying to make a note of how many eggs you've hidden and some of the sneaky spots you managed to stash them. There's nothing worse than finding melted chocolate under the couch cushions a few months later!

Easter egg hunt fun idea #4: Set hunt boundaries 
To make sure that chocolate-addicted kids don't endanger themselves by climbing on to the garage roof to look for eggs, establish the boundaries of your Easter egg hunt. Tell kids to stay between the house and the first tree, for instance, or to go no further than the driveway.

Easter egg hunt fun idea #5: Draw a map 
Keep things interesting by setting up a treasure hunt for kids. Give each child a map using pictures for those who can't read yet. Cut out a picture of a chair, for instance, or draw a coffee table to show them where the eggs are. Then be a bit sneaky by hiding another map at one of the clues. Kids older than 8 or 9 love riddles and wordy clues that get their brain ticking and lead them to more difficult places, such as a specific novel on the book shelf or a certain herb growing in the garden. You can get really creative by reading our instructions for an Easter treasure hunt, and then making the kids their own treasure hunt pails to collect their stash in.

Easter egg hunt fun idea #6: Add a pinata for Easter fun 
Why not abandon a hunt in favour of a pinata? You can make your own easy egg-shaped pinata to make a celebratory pinata from balloons and paper. Have the children take turns hitting it with a plastic bat while blindfolded. The one who finally bursts it open wins something special. 

Easter egg hunt fun idea #7: Supply non-chocolate prizes as rewards 
Every child could get a non-chocolate prize for participating a colouring book or something small that can keep them occupied over the Easter break could work. 

Easter egg hunt fun idea #8: Wrap only one egg wrap 
Instead of traditionally scattering Easter eggs, hide an egg which has a written clue wrapped around it. The clue is usually a brilliant rhyme that will lead the child or children to the next egg. If you have more than one child, there first clue for each of them should lead to the same second clue where they can do the hunt together. There is no age limit on this activity. With the younger kids, the clues have to be simple and basic and you will have to read the clues to them.

Easter egg hunt fun idea #9: Leave tell tale bunny prints 
Make bunny footprints near each hidden Easter egg to give the kids some easy hints as to where the eggs are hidden. You can also try making the footprints out of plain paper or even sprinkle some talcum powder and put a bunny paw print in it with your fingers.

Easter egg hunt fun idea #10: Hide them in the house 
Make a trail of little eggs from your child's bedroom to the living area and then lead them to one giant clue that will allow them to discover either a larger egg or a non-chocolate Easter gift such as a book or toy.

Visit Kidspot

Friday, March 30, 2012

DIY: Printed Paper Garlands



Create a vintage feel to your wedding ceremony and reception with these easy DIY garlands. Use the garlands for photo booth backgrounds, hanging mobiles, or simple wall and aisle decorations. 

 
Materials
Twine 
Used book (a vintage journal or old sheets of music)
Scissors 
Clear Tape 
Hole Punch or circle cutter
Buttons

How To
Pinwheels: Tear or cut the book pages into narrow strips, where the thicker the strip, the larger the pinwheel. Evenly fold each strip in an accordion fashion, then tape together the two ends while fanning out the strip. Secure the centre with clear tape, or glue a small button on each side, also using the printed paper. Once pinwheels are secured (glue will take a few hours to dry), puncture a hole through the center of the pinwheel, making sure not to crush the folds. Thread the twine through the hole and tie a knot to keep the pinwheel in place on the garland. 

Flags/Pennants: Cut out isosceles triangles of equal size. Fold the base edge of each triangle over the twine and secure with tape. 

Circle Confetti: Use a hole puncher or larger circle cutter to create the paper confetti. Take two circles and glue them back to back with the twine in between.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rich Chocolate Easter Egg Tart



If your having family and friends over this Easter be sure to have this delicious chocolate Easter egg tart on the menu. It's guaranteed to be a winner!

Ingredients (serves 10)
250g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
200g butter, chopped
6 eggs
1/3 cup caster sugar
200g mini chocolate Easter eggs (or speckled eggs), for decoration
cocoa powder, to serve  

Sweet shortcrust pastry
1 2/3 cups plain flour
3/4 cup pure icing sugar
125g butter, chilled, chopped
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chilled water  

Method
1. Make shortcrust pastry: Combine flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk, vanilla and chilled water. Process until pastry just comes together. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Pat into a 10cm disc. Wrap in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.
2. Preheat oven and a large flat baking tray to 190°C. Roll pastry out between 2 sheets baking paper to a 34cm round. Use round to line base and sides of a 2.5cm-deep, 26cm (base) fluted loose-based tart pan. Trim excess pastry. Freeze pastry case for 15 minutes or until firm.
3. Line pastry case with baking paper. Three-quarters fill with dried beans or uncooked rice. Place on hot tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until firm to touch. Remove paper and beans. Bake for a further 8 to 10 minutes or until pastry base is light golden. Remove from oven. Reduce oven to 180°C and return baking tray to oven.
4. Meanwhile, place chocolate and butter in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, or until melted and smooth. Using hand beaters, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl for 4 minutes or until pale and thick. Pour in chocolate mixture. Beat until well combined.
5. Pour chocolate mixture into pastry case. Place on hot tray and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until just set. Cool to room temperature.
6. Arrange mini Easter eggs on tart. Dust with cocoa powder and serve.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Creative Seating Cards & Displays


We came across these simple and creative ideas for seating cards and displays on Martha Stewart. With over 50 ideas to inspire you, you are sure to find one that will match perfectly to your wedding theme and style. Here are our favourites…

   
Escort Flags
Decorate each of your tables with with a different runner that matches the fabric on each of the escort flags.


Envelope Table Assignments   
Miniature envelopes holding stamped table assignments are pinned to a fabric-covered board then propped on an easel on the lawn or entrance to your reception. 


Lavender Seating Cards 
For an aromatic seating card, place two strips of paper (with the guest's name printed on one end and the table number on the other) tied with satin ribbon to lavender wrapped with floral tape.
  

Seating Card Sacks 
Pair a tag and a bag (with whatever goodies you choose inside) for an easy and economical favor that also serves as a seating card. Use rubber stamp to give muslin bags a border that fits your theme, print tags with guests' names and table numbers, cut out with an oval craft punch, then punch hole at top of tag and thread drawstrings through.


Booklets
Use petite handmade quotation books as seating cards. Fill the miniature books with your favorite sayings about life and love and bound them in card-stock covers with thin brown satin ribbon.
  

Floral Display
Greet your guests with an inviting display of single blooms in glasses bearing tags with each guest's name and table number. Finish with ribbon or twine.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How To Make Easter Gift tags & Cards


 
 
Homemade DIY cards and gift tags are a lovely way to dress up gifts at Easter - edible or otherwise! 

What you will need
Ready-made blank cards
Cutting mat
Pencil
Patterned paper
Souble-sided tape
Scalpel
Hole-punch
Ric-rac braid
Ribbons
Craft glue
 
Step-by-step  
1. To make the egg template, draw an oval onto a piece of plain paper. It should be slightly wider at the base and narrower at the top, then cut out.
 

2. Trace the template onto the front of the card. Place the card open on the cutting mat, then, holding securely, use the scalpel to cut the egg shape out.

 

3. Turn the card over and use strips of double-sided tape to secure a rectangle of patterned paper over the oval opening. If you want to use ribbon or ric-rac braid to decorate the egg, stretch it across the opening and use normal sticky tape to secure at either side before placing the patterned paper over the top. 

4. To make the matching gift tags, take the egg-shaped cutout from the cards. Use glue to stick patterned paper to the cut-out, then leave to dry. 


5. Place gift tag on the cutting board, pattern-side down, and use the scalpel to cut around the card. Punch a hole in the top of the card and add a piece of ribbon. 

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Caramello Egg Brownies



Give this chocolate brownie recipe an Easter twist by topping each brownie with a gold-wrapped Caramello egg - because at Easter time you simply can't have enough chocolate!
  
Ingredients
¾ cup butter
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 tspn vanilla
3 eggs
¾ cups self raising flour
½ cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt (optional)
12 Cadbury Caramello eggs 
  
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Lightly grease a slice tin (33 x 23 cm) with butter and line it with baking paper. 
3. Melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave. 
4. Using a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together, add vanilla, flour, cocoa, salt (optional) and the melted butter next. Mix this together and gently pour the mixture into the tin.
5. Unwrap the foil from the Caramello eggs and place them at even intervals into the mixture.
6. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes at 180°C. You can test if the brownies are cooked through by inserting a wooden skewer into the centre of the tin. If it comes out clean, they're ready to be taken out of the oven.
7. Let the brownies cool and dust with sifted icing sugar.   

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shoe Storage



Shoes are close to many a gal's heart, so why hide them in boxes when they could be out on display? Many people don’t understand the need for lots of pairs of shoes, but everyone knows you need somewhere to store them. With a few basic DIY tools and this great step-by-step guide from Better Homes & Gardens, you can make shoe storage shelves that will ensure your fave flats, pretty pumps and brilliant boots can be appreciated, every day. 

What you will need…
Shelf sides (2) 1800 x 400 x 19mm plywood
Shelves (5) 600 x 275 x 19mm plywood
Front stops (5) 20 x 20 x 600mm quad beading
Heel stops (5) 20 x 20 x 600mm pine (optional)
30mm nails
Nail punch
Protractor and sliding bevel
Timber filler
Paintbrush and foam roller
Dulux Prepcoat primer sealer undercoat
Dulux Gloss Enamel in Vivid White 

How to…
1. Cut all shelf pieces to length. Glue and nail quad beading 2mm back from front edge of each shelf, to make a quirk that gives shape to the joint. Tap nails home, then finish cleanly with a nail punch.
2. Measure 200mm across top of one shelf side from back, and join mark to bottom front corner. Cut to shape. Then, from bottom back corner, measure 350mm along bottom edge and 300mm up the back edge. Join marks, and cut off bottom triangle, to form a 5-sided truncated wedge shape. Repeat to make an identical second side.
3. Measure 100, 400, 700, 1000 and 1300mm up back edge. Using a protractor, set a sliding bevel to 55° and draw in lines to mark tops of 5 shelves. Use a straight edge to extend lines to front edge.
4. Mark a parallel angled line 10mm under each shelf top line and drill 4.5mm clearance holes 50 and 240mm from the front edge.
5. Clamp 1 shelf side to bench so front edge overhangs, allowing you to access front screw holes. Glue and screw top shelf to side so front edge of shelf is about 5mm back from front edge of side. Make sure bead is right way up. Repeat until all shelves are attached by 1 screw, then turn side around so back screw holes are accessible, clamp and screw on from underside so that each shelf has 2 screws on one side.
6. Glue and screw second side on tops of shelves. Align each shelf with lines and gap to front edge, and fix first screw in each shelf. Then go back and put in final screws.
7. Most shoes will be happily supported by the front bead, but you might have a few pairs that need a stop to support the heels. On 1 or more shelves, you can add a simple heel stop about 150-180mm up the shelf from the bottom. Pin in place with 30mm nails.
8. Fill all screw holes with timber filler. Allow to dry, then sand smooth. Paint with a coat of primer sealer undercoat. When dry, apply 2 coats of gloss enamel in the colour of your choice using a foam roller. Now your leaning shelf is complete.