Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese centres

Someone recently pinned this idea on Pinterest, and as soon as I saw it, I couldn’t believe I’d never tried this before!

I have an awesome (in my opinion) Carrot Cake recipe, and I’ve made muffins with cream cheese filling before, but never put the two ideas together. Silly.

So the other day I experimented with our family’s favourite Carrot Cake recipe and had a go. This is what happened:

Oh yea. They were amazing. Just looking at that photo again makes me want to eat about 10 more of them. Mmmmmm……

Want to make some too? You won’t regret it, I promise.

Notes before you start: This recipe will JUST make 12 muffins so when you’re spooning the mixture into the tins I suggest you spoon cautiously or make less. You want about half of the mixture under the cream cheese, half over. I also take no responsibility for you eating the whole batch before anyone else gets a chance.

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Centres

Ingredients:

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c soya oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c grated carrot
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 125g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Prepare muffin tins.
  2. In a small bowl mix together cream cheese and icing sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Add vanilla, oil, eggs, carrot and walnuts (if using) to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Spoon a small amount of mixture into each muffin tin (see note above). Divide the cream cheese mixture into the 12 tins using two teaspoons, one for scooping and one for scraping the mixture into the tin. Try to drop the mixture into the centre. Spoon the remaining carrot mixture on top of the cream cheese, taking care to not leave any cream cheese exposed.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 mins, or until risen and muffins spring back when touched.

What to do when your toddler is driving you nuts

 

Cloud doughHead to Pinterest!

Seriously. I have a whole board full of ideas of things to do with kids. Some for older kids that I’m keeping in mind for later, some suitable for toddlers. If you have any more awesome ideas, leave me a comment below. I could always use more!

A while ago I pinned this awesome idea for Cloud Dough:

Cloud Dough by Juggling With Kids - click picture for link to pin.

It’s just flour and baby oil. The original recipe is 8 cups flour to 1 cup baby oil, but I halved the amounts since I didn’t have that much flour to spare and wanted to store it in an icecream container. I also only had the scented aloe vera and vitamin E baby oil, but that just made our activity smell really nice!

This child of mine isn’t really into mess (which I’ll admit comes from me) but lately she has been a little more adventurous with things like this and has actually tolerated getting her hands dirty. Right after we started she asked for the cloth to wipe her hands but I distracted and encouraged her to keep playing which she did, for 45 minutes! I’m incredibly proud.

Check out her pants. They were just clean on. It was a struggle for me but I keep my mouth shut and we kept playing. Towards the end it was of course all over the floor too. I’m also incredibly proud of myself.

Back to the dough. It’s soft like flour, but squishes together like wet sand at the beach. After these photos were taken I went and grabbed her mini beach bucket and spade and we made little sand castles!

We had so much fun. It turned our bad ‘horrible weather outside and Miss Squish not having her usual nap therefore me not getting a break’ day into a great afternoon with a new experience.

Suddenly I’m reminded that these days are numbered. Soon she will be all grown up and won’t want to play with flour and baby oil on the kitchen floor with me… Must do things like this with her more often.

Nicola xx

Some new hairclips and a little how to

I’m on a roll with completing projects at the moment. The other day I finally glued the alligator clips to the felt shapes to finish up the new hairclips for Squishy. Why didn’t I do that sooner? It took no time at all!

A nice pile of new hairclips for Miss Squish.

Wanna know how they were made? I’ll do my best to explain the steps.

We'll start with the big circles. These look complicated but they really aren't. They are made from a whole lot of circles in different sizes. For the one on the left, the circles are folded in quarters and stitched to a base circle. The one on the right is made in the same way, except the circles are folded in half, then into 3. You can experiment a lot with different fabrics with these, have a play and see what you can come up with.

For this navy clip I cut 3 sets of 3 circles from felt, and stitched them together with embroidery floss and added a knot at the top of each stitch to make it stand out. I then glued each set of circles to the alligator clip, slightly overlapping each other.

This yellow flower clip is made with felt and repurposed denim. Made in the same way as the navy circle sets above, these yellow circles are stitched together tightly to create the slight ruffle in the felt. All of the pieces are glued to a base piece of felt before being glued to the clip.

These ones are made with the same circles that I used in the first clips except this time they are just folded in half and stacked on top of each other using hot glue to hold them all together. The smallest circle is folded and glued around the whole stack to tidy up the edge. Again, be creative with the fabrics. Who knows what you might come up with!

This one is pretty simple, I'm sure you've probably seen the technique before. One wide strip with the ends glued together. One smaller strip wrapped around the center to bunch it together like a bow. Easy.

I love making hair accessories. They are so quick and easy and there are so many different options.

Next time I’ll take photos and do a proper tutorial for you :)

Nicola

I have an addiction.

There. I said it. Well, actually it’s not my only addiction:

Of course it doesn’t help when Spotlight have a 30% off storewide sale, which includes things already on clearance.

This is my loot I got this morning:

Pile of fabric

My new loot.

I actually went to buy thread, because it’s kinda expensive and always good to get on special. But of course I had to check out the clearance table because the only thing better than marked down fabric, is 30% off marked down fabric.

This was my first find:

Blue and green chevron flannelette

Blue and green chevron flannelette

This is going to make some awesome pyjama pants. It was on the fabric clearance table for $3, I got 2 metres so with the discount it came to $4.20.

Then I stumbled across another clearance table with marked down fat quarters and bagged fabric remnants. So I hunted through and got these:

Two fat quarters

Two fat quarters

A pile of knits in blues and grey. Check out the cute little penguins in the boats!

And a pile of knits in yellow, pinks and cream.

I love getting new fabric. But I LOVE getting new fabric for cheap.

And it gets even better. A couple of my friends have given me fabric lately too, just bits and pieces that they have no use for. Like this:

A disney curtain and some khaki green corduroy.

I am in love with that curtain. It’s awesome vintageness. Check out what I found on the selvage:

Genuine!

It’s a pretty big curtain too, and in really good condition considering it was probably hung in a kids room a while ago.

And the other lot of fabric gifted to me last week:

Fluffy green and mystery blue.

These are stretchy, but I have no idea what they are. Luckily, I have Dana Willard’s new book The Fabric Selector and in it she tells you how to work out a fabric’s composition based on the smell and the way it burns when you light a small piece. I’ll have to get on to that.

Just in case you wanna buy it:

I have far too much fabric. My shelves were already full and now I have to find a place to put all this.

How terrible! :)

Nicola x

Getting somewhere…

I did it. I finished one of my things that needed finishing. Yay!

A new pencil case for my 5yr old little friend who has just started school (his birthday was in January… better late than never!)

Using this cool tutorial:

And the inside… I didn’t have any other fabrics that went well together for a little boy, so these ones had to do. I quite like them together though.

Perfect to fit a pile of coloured pencils, since 5yr olds actually have no need to take their own pens and pencils to school. The school supplies them apparently.

Ready to do some serious colouring!

Happy Birthday little man! Hope you like your present.

Now for his little brother’s birthday present…

Nicola xx

How not to make muffins

I’ve managed to butcher my favourite muffin recipe. The last two times I’ve made them, they have turned out horrible. Everything seems ok until they go into the oven, but they just don’t cook properly. See?

The failed muffins.

They look cooked, except for the fact that they haven’t risen and are still wet on the inside.

I know the problem has occured somewhere between me using the original recipe straight from the website, and me using my handwritten version in my recipe book. Did I miss something out when I wrote it down? Maybe. When I find the original recipe I might be able to figure it out!

I’ll keep you posted, and if I’m successful I’ll share the recipe!

Nic.

Repurpose: A bag for the crafting

Each week on a Tuesday, I go along to a local craft group. We take turns at each other’s houses and just sit around doing whatever craft project we are working on at the time and chatting. It’s great! A chance to get out of the house by myself and hang out with some lovely ladies.

I realised after the first couple of weeks that I needed something to carry all of my STUFF in. I was going to sew a bag, but then realised I had this really good, sturdy bag hanging around in the cupboard:

Sturdy hessian bagIt’s a hessian bag with a plasticy coating on the inside that my Nana got when she bought some Barker’s products. Nice and strong, and quite big too. Perfect for carrying crafting bits and pieces.

But a bag with a big ugly logo on the side? Not my style. So of course I had to add fabric. Yep, fabric is the answer to yet another of life’s questions. Love it.

I wish I was one of those people that have all different kinds of mod podge lined up ready for their individual uses. But I’m not, so I used paper Mod Podge instead, cos that’s all I’ve got. Yep, I did it. Paper glue on fabric. Hey, it worked!

Oh and this just happened to use up a few of my lovely scraps again! I’d even go so far as to say it’s another Scrap-Buster project!

So this is what I did:

After cutting out my petals and deciding on the layout, I glued them down with LOTS of Mod Podge underneath and over top.

Here's all of the petals glued down. I know you can see through the pale pink one on the left, but it became less noticable as it dried so I'm ok with that.

 

With the help of a little hot glue, I added buttons and a little lace to pretty it up just a bit more.

And then of course I had to do something about the other side because of the giant ugly logo there too. A little blue and white floweryness.

And that’s it! A crafty bag for crafty evenings with crafty ladies. Awesome.

Nicola xx

Where I’ve been lately…

Ugh. Fallen of the planet? Not quite, but I have felt like that a little bit lately. When I started this blog I was so enthusiastic and I have a huge list of ideas of things to share with you all. But then life gets in the way and I guess I haven’t figured out how to balance everything yet.

But anyway, moving on. I have managed to get back into my sewing room recently and have actually completed a few things.

Like these cute little baby hats:

It’s a miracle those hats got completed these last few weeks, but it was one of those tutorials you see that you just HAVE to get started on straight away. Even though I don’t have any babies to give them to yet. Actually, I do have some friends who are growing babies at the moment… if you are reading this, act surprised!

What I should have been doing is trying to complete some of my unfinished projects instead of starting new ones! Here’s a little sample of what I’ve got lying around unfinished:

Pencil case pieces cut out ready to sew

Unfinished: Pencil Case, cut out ready to sew.

Felt shapes and alligator clips

Unfinished: Felt hairclips ready to be glued.

Polystyrene ball with finger knitting wrapped around

Unfinished: Finger-knitted wool-wrapped ball needing a little more patience.

Cloth nappy materials

Unfinished: Squishy's large set of cloth nappies. 12 down, 6 to go.

Fleece pieces for monster soft toy

Unfinished: Monster soft toy ready to be sewn.

More info on each of these projects as I get through them.

And then there’s the HUGE list of things that I want to get started on as well. Things get added very frequently but just don’t get completed that fast! Guess I better get a move on!

Nicola xx

Tutorial: Ruffled Fabric Streamers

Ready for another Ultimate Scrap Buster? Good. Me too. My scrap box is thanking me.

Last year I saw these on one of my favourite blogs, MADE:

Ruffled Streamers by MADE

I was instantly in love, although it took me a while to get around to making them. But I finally got myself organised and whipped up a few for Christmas. They are so quick and easy! In fact, the longest part was cutting strips of crepe paper as the only colours I could find in the little rolls weren’t what I wanted. If you are looking for a way to make some fast and gorgeous crepe paper decorations, check out Dana’s tutorial. Actually, go check it out anyway because it will really help you follow my steps a little better. And plus, she just writes the cutest posts!

But after ruffling up some crepe paper I got to thinking, what else can I ruffle? FABRIC! I’m starting to think that fabric is the answer to all of my problems. Quite possibly.

And so, just in time for Valentine’s Day decor, I had a go at ruffling up some fabric in red, white, silver and black. I’m going to be honest, we Kiwi’s don’t go crazy with decorating the house at every opportunity (although I am totally envious of the awesome decorating ideas I keep seeing on my favourite blogs), but I thought these might help me get into the spirit.

They didn’t turn out quite as cute as I hoped, as some of the fabrics didn’t ruffle as well as the others. It seems as though the thinner the fabric, the better the ruffles. But anyway, I’ll talk you through the process and offer my suggestions later.

Now, after all of that waffling, I give you another Ultimate Scrap Buster:

Ruffles!

A little close up action.

Oh, and I also did a little pink and green. Cute right?

I know the strips aren’t all perfectly straight but I think that just adds to the charm, don’t you think? I think the scrappiness of it is cute.

Ready to do-a-lil-ruffling? Great.

Get out that scrap box/bag/pile and gather yourself a pile of coordinating strips. You want some wide, approx. 5cm wide, for your bottom ruffle layer, and some thinner than that (it really doesn’t matter how thin, as long as they are thinner than your bottom pieces) for your top ruffle layer. Don’t be afraid of the funny shaped ones. Here’s my pile:

See? All kinds of shapes in there. No problem.

Now, before you get into sewing, change the settings on your machine so that it is on the longest stitch length and highest tension. Did you read Dana’s tutorial? I hope so.

Layer a smaller piece on top of a bigger piece to start. Back stitch to secure, then start sewing and watch those ruffles suddenly appear.

 

When a layer runs out, just shove another piece right in there. My top layer ran out first, so I just stopped with the needle down, lifted the presser foot and slid in another piece.

 

When your bottom layer runs out, just add in another piece in the same way.

Keep on adding in new pieces until you have a beautiful ruffled streamer to decorate whatever you want to decorate.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before there were problems. The thicker fabrics and the stretchy fabrics didn’t work very well at all. Stick with lightweight cottons and you should be fine. Also, if you wanted you could do a third layer at the bottom facing down so that it was double-sided. That was my original plan but I got a little lazy.

A lil more pink and green for you. I love this colour combo.

Now go and make a whole bunch in whatever colour combos you like!

Happy Valentine’s! And happy ruffling!

Nicola x

The things I rely on.

Over the last few weeks there have been a couple of occasions where we have been without a car for a few days at a time. And in a few days I’m going to lose my laptop for a bit because it’s been having issues and needs to be sent away (naughty laptop!). Don’t worry about me though, I’ll just boot my husband off of his computer :)

It’s got me thinking about how much I rely on things. I definitely rely on having a car. I totally take for granted the fact that I (usually) have a car sitting in the garage ready for us to use whenever we need it. Lots of people don’t have a car or don’t drive and they get along just fine, but it has been a bit of a challenge for me. Although I’ve realised that it’s actually not that hard to find other ways of getting around, it’s just that it was too easy not to.

But since losing one big thing that I relied heavily on, I’ve had to rely on several other things: friends allowing me to borrow their umbrella stroller so that we can get on and off the train more easily, trains running on time (and just having to deal with being late when they are not!), other friends ferrying us to and from the airport, the weather (since I’m not walking around in the rain!).

I guess if I never had a car to use my life would be organised differently and I would be worrying about losing something else that I relied on. No point thinking about that.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever mentioned that I have never had my own sewing machine. I used to rely on the fact that I could borrow our sewing machine from work whenever I wanted (I used to work in an after school programme, we had a machine to teach the kids how to sew). I now have my mother-in-law’s machine, and am relying on her to continue to be happy for me to use it. I think I’ve had it for 2 or 3 yrs now! Thanks Tricia! One day I’ll get my own shiny new sewing machine, and overlocker, and a big sewing/craft room…

I’ve also been thinking about how fortunate I am. I have a gorgeous, healthy little girl and a wonderful husband who works his butt off to take care of us all and to allow me to spend my time sewing and crafting and then blogging about it! I definitely rely on him to continue to take care of us, I hope he realises how much we appreciate it. What more could you really need?

What do you rely on? Family to help out with the care of your children? A friend to drive you to work? Your 50 yr old sewing machine to just keep on going?

Nicola xx