Tuesday, 31 December 2013

And just when we had made our own dragon...

We found these cookie cutters. Honestly not as good as OUR dragon, but a good activity.

A croquembouche - that's new!

Here's another Christmas treat we've made. It was a (gasp) packet mix. That's real toffee, and real toffee is pretty tricky. Catriona made most of this.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Time for holiday scribbles

Every year when we visit the family in Perth, I take a bit of art stuff with me. But just a limited amount. So when I need a little recharge, I can do a little scribbling. This time, the limited kit includes : coloured pencils, card, round punch, glue, and a few other things.

Here's some fun I had today. Loving the scribble.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

A Laing card game

Xanthe didn't believe we'd actually get a card game going, but we did!

What's better than a gingerbread castle?

Well, a gingerbread DRAGON, of course!

Thomas developed this, Catriona added some ideas, and Jonathan insists he helped too.

And we haven't eaten it.

Finished gingerbread house

Here it is all finished!

Gingerbread castle is finished!

Here's the gang with the finished castle. Left to right, we have ... Jessamy, Emma, Xanthe, Thomas, Mitchell, Jonathan, James and Catriona. Connor was ... somewhere else.

Gingerbread castle part 3 - still not ruined

Yes, turns out, a team of three teenage girls does a better job of decorating a castle than a rabble of younger kids. Let's keep it classy, ladies.

Gingerbread castle part 2 - looking quite sophisticated

Yes, marking the brickwork on the gingerbread was a good idea. Catriona, Emma and Xanthe assemble the Petit Chateau de Diabetes.

Gingerbread castle - looking good!

Here's some of the pieces of our gingerbread castle before baking. Let's see how we can mess this up now!

Pool full of Laings

Annual task, get a photo (or photos) of all the cousins. Here's what we have so far. Left to right, Xanthe, Emma (an exchange student), Catriona, Jessamy, Thomas and Jonathan. Jonathan's doing a face. He does that a lot.

Stuart and Elaine at christmas

Here are Elaine (Nana) and Stuart (Jeff's brother) at Christmas lunch.

Christmas crackers made by us!

This year, Thomas, Jonathan and I collaborated to make Christmas crackers. The funnies were written by the boys, and the treats were chocolates, choo-choo bars, tiny cars, and tiny toy mice. And spoons. Lots of spoons. They all went bang very loudly, thanks to the snaps I bought in advance.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Pauline goes to a book signing too

Following our successful meeting with Dr Karl, one of Catriona's heroes, I tried another book signing here in Perth. Tenina Holder, author of cookbooks on the Thermomix topic, was signing her latest. And Gail really wanted a copy! So I went to the rescue and got her a beautiful signed copy. I get to see Gail next week when SHE visits Perth too, so I can give her the book then.

Laings in the pool, 2013 style

Here's James in the pool, but whose legs are those? Turns out they're Jessamy's.

Yes, I'm starting again on the seasonal project of getting photos of all the cousins.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Treats at Miss Maud's factory outlet

If you are a Perth resident, you'll know Miss Maud's. It's a chain of nice cafés with tasty European style baked goods. But what we've discovered is, they have a factory outlet too. It's at 136 Fitzgerald St, Northbridge. It's only open on Saturday mornings (from 7am to 10 am, how's that for eccentric opening hours?).

Here are some trays that $5 or less will get you. And also the bad news - they are closed next week and the one after. So today was our one and only visit.

Friday, 20 December 2013

A day out in the Swan Valley

We're in Perth on holidays, and today was a good day to do a foody tour of the Swan Valley. 

We had nougat at Mondo Nougat (lemon is delicious)...

...a cheese platter at The Cheese Barrel, which is run by properly nerdy cheese lovers. Here we are having: Meredith Ashed chèvre, which is actually available here easily; petit Compte, possibly not the favourite; and Pont l'eveque, the hands down winner in my opinion.

And here's another look at the winning cheese - yum!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A long awaited ... cake

Every time we visit Sofia's, the local yummy family restaurant, catriona and I admire the cakes. They're not delicate, they're not elegant, but they are BIG. But every visit, nobody has room for cake after dinner.

So Catriona and I promised ourselves that we'd go and have cake, when she finished exams.

It turned out, we didn't have a chance until now. Oh, and look, it was VCE result day too. After we finished dancing the happy dance over her great results (top score in Psychology, and a really good score for getting into university), we went for CAKE!

Did we finish all this? Hell no! Were they yummy? Hell yes!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

I briefly catch Thomas appreciating Christmas...

... Or maybe he was just trying to break something. He says I can't prove it was him, but there's a reflection in the bauble!

Getting that Christmas spirit

It's nearly Christmas, and I'm taking Thomas and Jonathan to the city to see the gingerbread village. It's tricky entertaining teens. There has been bribery involved (in the form of tasty frozen yoghurt). And here we are cheering up the train ride. Meet my mascot, Sir Humphrey Wilford Spoonshire.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

How to make a tiny Christmas hat for a dinosaur

How exactly, I keep being asked, does one make a tiny hat for a dinosaur? Specifically a Christmas one? Well, I'll tell you.

Start by cutting two felt circles, one red, and one white.
Now, cut both circles in half. Cut the inside of the white halves out too.
Glue the white to the red like this. You are making two hats here, by the way. That will stop squabbles amongst your dinosaurs.

Now, the tricky part. Run glue along the straight edge, and fold the half circle over. Clamp the two edges with a clothes peg, or some kind of clip.

Interesting step here. You will find that glue doesn't really work on felt. Maybe I was impatient, but I couldn't get any kind of sticking to happen.

So now, we discard all the felt, and switch to a much more forgiving medium, pretty coloured card stock.

Punches do a good job here. I'm using a 3/4 inch ("big") and a 1/2 inch punch ("small").

Punch a big circle of red, and puns OUT a small circle of white.

Use the nifty trick of punching the big punch around the hole left by the small one. That gets you a ring of white card.
Glue the white ring onto the red card, and cut in half.

Roll one of the hats around a pointy tool. Here, I have used a pointy tool. You should choose something pointy.

Overlap the tiny cone you have made, and glue the overlapping bit. A tiny enough clip will come in handy here.

Your tiny hat is ready! Put it on your dinosaur, and arrange the dinosaur in some kind of terrarium. Merry Christmas!