31 October 2013

Homemade Coconut 'Bounty' Bars

When I have failures...
They seem to happen in two's or threes.
Thankfully by some miracle, 
I seem to be able to save the project at hand!
Remember the 'almost failure' with the French Look DIY pot? 
http://miabellapassion.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/mod-podge-creation-reveal.html
Well folks, here is an 'almost' EPIC FAIL
 I thought I would share with you...
I add the work EPIC as I was pretty sure 
this one at the time of making was definitely not save-able!
I found a delicious recipe for home made bounty bars
with SIMPLE picture instructions at 'Not Enough Cinnamon',
Home made bounty bars are
sometimes known as mounds...
and I thought "oh YUM, let the confectionery making begin!".
It all started off so well...
I gathered my ingredients...
 condensed milk, coconut, melting chocolate.
And into my bowl went...
one cup of condensed milk and three cups of coconut.
It was mixed together as instructed.
So far so good!
But then mistake number one occurred,
I added a bit more coconut as I thought the mixture was too wet!
 Mental note to self for the future...
'Do not over think things!'
Then I 'squeezed' the coconut mixture - using clean, wet hands into mounds...
Which of course was harder to do, 
because my mixture was now dryer than it should have been.
Second note to self...
'Do not adjust quantities - stick to recipe!'
The wee mounds were popped onto a tray lined with baking paper
and into the freezer for 20 minutes they went...
Near to the end of chilling time I melted the milk chocolate...
and this is where things went 
horribly, 
horribly 
wrong...
The first mound was dipped, and the coldness of it made the chocolate set FAST!
It looked OK, quite smooth, but a little thick, 
so thinking the chocolate needed to be thinner...
Mistake number two occurred... 
 I added a little bit of cream to it.
BIG MISTAKE!
IT WENT THICKER!!!
Needless to say I was grateful a chocolate cake was in the oven, 
and my chocolate concoction was now the ganache to ice it with!
Then melted dipping chocolate attempt number two began...
Dark chocolate this time...
Nicely melted, 
but I still struggled to dip my mounds nicely...
they did not look smoothly coated...
In fact mine most certainly resembled hedgehogs!
And worst still...
one got completely stuck to the fork,
But that was a terrific excuse to EAT it!
Quite clearly I need a few lessons on how to dip confectionery into melted chocolate.
(I am thinking I did not have my melted chocolate hot enough!)
But the good thing is...
they may not look like the perfect chocolate mounds 
created by 'not enough cinnamon' on their Blog... ...
BUT THEY DO TASTE DELICIOUS..
My home made coconut bounty bar mounds have a new name:
 'Coconut hedgehogs'!





29 October 2013

Pink Love...

Mia Bella gardens is in love with pink...
Bright pink petunias...
Pink dahlias...
with funky contrasting yellow centres.
Shocking pink...
Shade loving fushias...
with soft pink outer petals and stamens.
The visiting bees are in love with pink too...
deliriously in love with the scent...
of bright pink scented stock flowers.
Pink love is in the garden...
and a flamingo too!

27 October 2013

Poppy Pretties...

 At Mia Bella Gardens there is a field of poppies...
 Well, that's not quite true...
it's actually a garden bed
of pretty poppies.
Last year I went seed scattering mad,
and now early in the summer season,
the garden is a mass of prettiness.
 Poppy bud beauty...
After the drabness of the winter,
 isn't the minty green of the buds and leaves luscious?
 You have to wonder how so much flower is packed into that small bud!
Poppy pretties...
Nature spoils us with their beauty...
Nature spoils me,
Because this is the vista outside my lounge room window.

Bird love...

Yet another of my passions is...
Birds.
Here is the latest addition
 to the ever growing collection of bird ornaments...
Cute don't you think?

24 October 2013

Cupcake making for kids!

It was with much fun we had the pleasure of 'testing' a cupcake kit for kids
for our local Whitcoulls  bookstore !
First we make a batch of vanilla cupcakes
and let them cool before icing them.
 The kit had the smallest rolling pin you've ever seen in it...
cute little cutters, and fondant in pink, yellow, white and blue.
This kit is quite educational too...
with fondant in primary colours mixed to make new colours,
Yellow + blue = green...
So that's a bit of science isn't it?
 The fondant passed the taste test...
Kids would love the different flavours...
 pink strawberry was the best!
 The little cupcake stand was a trick to get the cupcakes on...
But this was the end result.
Cupcake making with fondant icing...
Now there's an idea to keep the children entertained 
during the weekend,
or holidays!

22 October 2013

I hope you feel beautiful today...


 Wandering around 'Mia Bella Gardens' with camera in hand,
Early summer gorgeousness greeted me...
Beautiful colours,
beautiful flowers,
beauty everywhere...
A little bit of beauty was captured..



20 October 2013

DIY Willow Wreath...

The countdown to Christmas is truly underway, 
have you been doing any planning?
I thought I had better get a move on with that,
 so I sat down  with pen and notepad, and planned away!
Every year I have a colour theme,
and this year it will be the traditional red, dark green and white.
I'm going to make book page butterflies,
Scotty dog decorations in white felt,
and a decorated wreath.
Those bits will go nicely with the felt reindeer made last year,
and all the other Christmasy things,
 I have made or collected over the years.
Don't you just LOVE Christmas?
When do you decorate your house?
Are you like me and decorate in the first week of December?
The large wreath was today's creation
 and it should be dry enough to decorate in a few weeks time.
Here is how you make a willow wreath...
There is a little willow tree 
in the house paddock at Mia Bella Gardens,
so I gathered some of it...
As well as some thin wire...
                                               and secateurs.
The next task was to strip the leaves and tips from the willow...
 Then cut some small pieces of wire...
 Choosing some of the longer lengths of willow bend into a circle....
 Using the wire, bind it together in three of four places....
 Don't worry if it's not perfectly round, 
as you shape it as you weave more willow into it.
 Keep weaving and twisting, poking the willow into the circle...
give it a squish and help it shape into a circle.
If you have access to willow, have a go at making a wreath...
It is lovely to work with as it is so supple.
It took me about 3/4 of an hour to make this....
Quite therapeutic actually, all that weaving.
 
 And here it is...
ready to hang and dry...
Don't the poppies look pretty framed by my DIY willow wreath?





18 October 2013

In LOVE with old china....

It's a terrible addiction I seem to have for anything old...
And old china is something that I do enjoy very much.
The other day when I went to visit a friend,
she was having a sort out of some bit's and pieces
 that belonged to her mother...
it was all going in a yard sale...
 I was so lucky to have first pick!
And my oh my, did I enjoy looking through her boxes
 of newspaper wrapped china and glassware.
I really did have to curb my desire to buy the whole lot...
but one has to be realistic...
so I bought the pieces that I knew would fit the décor of my home,
And the pieces I knew I would actually use!
And here they are...
Pretty don't you think?
Now I have to rearrange 'everything' to find a home for it all!
 I have always admired this design...
It is 'Foxglove' by Carltonware...
I adore the wee sugar bowl and the jugs!
New trios of cups, saucers and plates are always a great excuse to have a tea party!
There is a lovely thistle design by Adderly which is English bone china...
The other set is also bone china, 
and that's Colclough with the most dainty violets on it!
I seem to have so many passions...
If I was asked "What is your most favourite thing?"
That my friends is a question that would be impossible to answer...

15 October 2013

Mod Podge Creation Reveal...

Yesterday a French look DIY pot was created...
Find the 'how do do it' info here:

24 hours drying time later, with my bowl of water and cloth in hand...
I start to wet the label...
AND THEN...
SHOCK, 
HORROR...
 realised I had modpodged over it yesterday 
when that is NOT what you do!
NOTE TO SELF (for future craft sessions)
PRINT the instructions...
don't just read online and then think you will remember how to do it.
So here is what I should have done...
Brushed the modpodge onto the label....
Smoothed it onto the pot... 
Then left it to dry for 24 hours.
Thank you 'Heavens Walk' for those instructions.
So because of my mistake,
Removal of the label was a painstaking event!
It took quite a white to get it off... 
But get it off I did!
One coat of clear sealer later...
It was complete.
In the end, it worked,
even though I thought I was heading for a DIY craft disaster!
Yay!  Final result is one super cool French look pot, 
that will look so good in my laundry revamp (= ongoing project!)
Now that I actually know how to do this right,
I will definitely be creating some more!
The vase was a great success...
 and looks fab on the mantel. 
 It sits next to the fleurs basket...
Filled with 
snowball tree flowers, roses...
and pretty purple blue Japanese irises.
 I am loving this wee bit of BLING
the colours compliment the violet fabric perfectly.