Monthly Archives: November 2012

What’s On My Plate? Tropical Fruit Salad with Organic Yoghurt and Homemade Muesli


After a few weeks of celebrating all sorts of milestones with friends and family and indulging way too much, I was in need of some ‘clean’ and wholesome food.

After a productive trip to the farmer’s markets, my fridge is chock-a-block with the most AMAZING tropical fruit.  I have snapped up some of the sweetest mangoes, pineapple and pawpaws I have ever eaten. Yum!

This morning they were calling out to be put into a fruit salad and eaten for breakfast.

I was recently introduced to this oh so luscious organic yoghurt called Five:am.

If you are in Australia, you can pick it up from Woolworths.  It was a must to dollop on my fruit salad.

To sprinkle on top to add texture, I had my first go at making my own toasted muesli.  After reading a few recipes, I decided on my own concoction.  I chose ingredients I liked and gauged quantities as I went.

In a bowl I mixed together:

Rolled oats with barley grains

Shredded coconut

Sunflower seeds

sesame seeds

Chia seeds

Dried Cranberries





To bind these together I poured over rice bran oil and rice malt syrup that I had heated slowly on the stove top.  You could use honey instead of rice malt syrup and butter/margarine instead of rice bran oil.  I didn’t go silly with this, only lightly coating the dry ingredient to cut down on the fat.

I laid these out on baking paper, and popped them into a moderate oven for about 15 minutes.  I pulled them out when they were golden and let them cool before smashing them up and sprinkling them over the fruit and yoghurt.

We all loved this for breakfast.  It made such a nice change from the usual cereal.

Carnival Party Decorations


Yesterday, I shared with you the carnival party I threw for my two little boys.  You can read about it here.  Today, I thought I would share some of the decorations I used to create the carnival atmosphere and point you in the direction of some great online resources for your carnival/circus themed events.

I first got the idea for a carnival party from the Klapper Cirkus range of kid’s toys at Ikea.  We had the circus tent set up in the front yard.


And I had a selection of ringmaster and jester hats and  clown hand puppets for the kids to play with. You can view these online here.


I also had a selection of different sized Ikea Nyttja  frames which I filled with free, carnival-inspired printables from Pink Zebra Lounge.  There were some great food ones.  I loved the hot dogs one for our food buffet and the lemonade one for our drinks table.


Ikea also inspired me with their candy striped Christmas wrapping paper.  I used it most importantly as an easy clean tablecloth for the kid’s table.  To add a bit of height and interest to the dessert table’s focal point, the ferris wheel cupcake holder, I covered a box in this wrapping paper for the wheel to sit on.  You can see I also did this for the water urn in the picture above.

I used cardboard bunting to decorate the front fence and above the food table.  I printed the boy’s names on some of the bunting in a carnival style font.  You can download a gazillion different carnival font for free to make your signs and invitations.  One of the better sites is Font Space.

If you are in Australia, you can pick up this bunting in most variety shops these days, along with a whole host of matching decorations and tableware for your carnival parties.

I created my own backdrop for the dessert table with some fabric I bought on sale at my local haberdashery.  I just bought a length of light, narrow timber from my local hardware, luckily it was the same length as my table.  I used a staple gun to attach the material along the length and fishing line to hang it from my window that sat behind the table.  You could create your own backdrop in a similar manner, or try covering a painting canvas or foam sheets which you can then prop up on the table.  I was happy to buy material as I have a use for it after the event, but for a less expensive option, buy some wrapping paper to do this.

I purchased invitations, gift boxes and the like before I came across a fantastic site for free printables.  Catch My Party has a whole range of circus party printables including banners, water bottle and chocolate bar wrappers.  I printed this great sign and my food labels for the table.


Pumpkin Petunia also has a range of cute free circus printables.  I am thinking that this thank you card will get used by me.


There is a massive range of carnival/circus printables available for purchase online on sites like Etsy.  Most are affordable and adorable, giving your party a real cohesive feel.  Some of my favourites you can find here and here.

I had such fun putting together this party.  If you take the time to do a little internet surfing, you will fall in love with the idea of a carnival/circus party just like I did.  The inspiration out there is endless and I wish I could have jammed more ideas into this little party.



Carnival Party


I haven’t been posting as often as party season has well and truly descended on the Crooked Household, and I have been running around like a headless chook.

This weekend just gone was one much-anticipated event, the combined 1st and 4th birthday for my little boys.

I had long wanted to throw a carnival party and had been slowly gathering together supplies as I came across them.  You can read about some of my finds here.

We had the party at home with family which was advantageous given the weather.  A huge storm descended in the middle of the party and we were all trapped inside our small house.  Nevertheless, the show went on.

Food and drink was always going to be the backbone of a party for our family.  I set up food and drink ‘stations,’ for want of a better word, so that people could help themselves.

I tried to keep to the theme in my food choices.  On the main table I served mini hotdogs, pizza, nachos, popcorn and vegie dippers.

I also had a drink station set up for water, juice and soft drinks.

As with any kid’s party, the dessert table was the most important.  The ferris wheel cupcake holder was the centrepiece of the whole table, as was the rainbow cake.

I also served macarons, caramel tarts, slices, gum balls, coloured popcorn, custard-filled cones, chocolate pretzels and fruit kebab.

When the storm subsided, a few of the braver kids headed out for games like ten pin bowling, water balloon toss, egg and spoon races and hoops.  Unfortunately, I didn’t capture this on camera as there was no way I was going to run around on the wet grass.

As favours for the kids, I bundled up a tub of play dough and some chocolates in cute candy-striped chinese food containers.  The older children also took home a lollipop each.

Despite the rain and having to be couped up inside, the party went well.  The boys had  the best time…and still are, playing with the amazing presents they received.

It was really easy to get the look and feel of a carnival party with a few little trims and utilising all the amazing resources there are out there on the internet. Tomorrow, I will show some of the smaller touches and point you in the direction of some great online resources.

Enjoy your week.

Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,t SimpleFireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer

Study / Craft Room Reveal


Yesterday, I wrote about my decision to convert our playroom back to a study / craft room and the steps I took to complete the room at a fraction of the cost of the cabinetmaker’s quote.  You can read about that here.  Well, today I thought I would show you the completed room and some of the storage solutions I have put in place.

There were two essential things this room needed – lots of compartmentalized storage, and lots of bench space.

I love the Ikea Expedit units, so I used these as a basis for the design.  I purchased 4 of the 4 cube units to sit under the benchtop on one wall, and cut one down to suit the width of the room.  I chose not to have these attached to the each other, the wall or the benchtop so that I have the flexibility in the future to remove these if I wish.  I got the builder to put timber moulding in the gap between the units and the benchtop though, to give the impression they were built in.

I wanted the room to look neat and to maximise the storage capability, so I purchased Lekman boxes to fill the units.  To help keep track of where everything is stowed, I created little tags which I have attached to the fronts with string.

The benchtops I purchased from our local hardware store were meant for a kitchen or laundry, but are perfect for this set up.  I got the builder to cut them to the size and attach them to the wall.

The empty benchtop above the Expedit units has given me a new space to craft.  For the moment, most of my supplies are comfortably stored in the boxes below.  Should I decide on some benchtop or wall storage of my most  used items, there is heaps room to do this.

At one end of this bench I have set up a paperwork and mail station.  I attached two lots of Kvissle newspaper racks from Ikea to the wall to help corral the family’s paperwork.

At the other end of the bench, I have used a large vase to store my wrapping paper.  I was forever throwing out wrapping paper as it would get squished in the cupboard.

The benchtop on the other wall is for ‘office’ work.  There is heap of room for my computer and printer with lots of bench left spare to do paper work.

I have neatened up my cables and stationery bits and pieces with other items from Ikea’s Kvissle range.  You can see what nifty pieces they sell here.

Above this bench, I have attached two huge floating shelves to store books, everyday files and some nick nacks.

On the other side of the room, I have decided to keep it all pretty simple.  We have some lovely big windows that let in the light, so I didn’t want to obstruct that.

I purchased the red chair from Freedom, so we still had a place to sit and read in the room.

On the day I found the chair, my husband fell in love with the big lighthouse print, so it came home with us too.

I am loving the new study / craft room.  I feel I can get more done in this calmer, less cluttered environment. I did wonder whether the boys would miss having a room almost all devoted to their play, but the shake up has been  great in more ways than one.  I will share that with you soon.


Study and Craft Room Creation


For a small and relatively new house, ours seems to undergo an awful lot of change and renovation.  It feels like there is always a project on the go, or is that because it takes us forever to complete something?

Last year we decided to convert our very under-used study into a playroom/office to help clear some of the toys from the living areas.   You can get more details about that here and here, but these are a few pics of what it used to look like.


It was a great idea and it worked quite well until maternity leave meant I had more time for blogging and crafting.   I needed more desk space and we all needed more storage space.

Taking the bull by the horns, the kid’s rooms were rearranged to include the toy storage that once lived in the playroom.  I then spent a long time looking at pictures for inspiration and eventually came up with a plan for the room.  It was going to be clean and quite simple with oodles of bench space.

I had a few cabinet makers come out to quote the job and what I wanted was going to cost between $6000-$10,000.  That pricing was ridiculous.  I think the job was too small for them and they were quoting to make it worth their while.

Not one to give up or pay too much for anything, I started to work out a solution.  I sourced all my own materials, bought flat pack storage and got a builder to install what I couldn’t do myself.

I ended up with almost exactly what I wanted for a fraction of the cost.

Tomorrow, I will show you what we did.  But for the moment take a look at this pic from after the builder left.

Viva Glass and Mirror Wipes – My Saviour!


What drew me to the house we live in is the windows.  The house is full of them.  Huge, floor to ceiling monsters that let in so much light.  What I didn’t think of at the time was the work involved in keeping them clean.

I have done the newspaper, vinegar, squeegee, soapy water, Gerni, Enjo and microfibre cloth cleaning, but I was only ever semi-satisfied with the job. Whinging about the onerous task to my mother, she suggested I try Viva Glass and Mirror Wipes.

Mum raved about them so when  I saw them on sale last week, I decided to give them a go. They are brilliant!

There is no need for chemicals when using them, all you do is wet the blue cloth and use it to ‘wash’ the window and then you use the  white cloth to dry and shine the window.  No streaks.

They are great value as the wipes are very hardy and reuseable.  All you do is give them a wash in soapy water and let them dry.  Mine are getting really dirty as I have been using them on the outside of the windows and they have been washing up beautifully.

I am only half-way through the job of washing the windows in the house, but I couldn’t not post about these beauties.  You must give them a go.