Monday, 29 October 2012

Recipe: Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake

Hello lovelies, so in follow up to my gluten-free bread making post last week, here is a recipe for a decadent flourless chocolate cake which will send you straght to heaven in one bite! It is incredibly rich and incredibly delicious. Can be served cold by itself (or with a cup of tea) or hot with ice cream. If you're not much of a fan of overly rich things, I would suggest serving it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to break up the chocolatey-ness a little bit. I have tried it both wasy and absolutely love this cake!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 6 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Glaze:
  • 2 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate squares
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon milk OR light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Agave syrup OR honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350°F

Spray a 7-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. If you don't have a tart pan, use a 6 to 7-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray the paper.

  1. Melt 6 ounces of chopped chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth.
  2. Add sugar and salt and reduce heat to low. Cook while stirring for about one minute, until sugar starts to dissolve.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. The mixture will look smooth and glossy.
  4. Use a mesh hand sieve to sift cocoa into mixture. This prevents lumps. Whisk until the cake batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The center of the cake should be just firm to the touch, but be careful to not overbake the cake or it will be dry.
  6. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake on a plate.
  7. To prepare the glaze, melt 2 ounces of chopped chocolate and 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the same saucepan you used to make the cake. When melted and smooth, remove the pan from heat. Add milk and Agave syrup OR honey and vanilla and stir until smooth and glossy. Let the glaze cool for about 3 minutes before pouring it on the cake.
  8. Pour all of the glaze in the middle of the cake. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing the glaze to evenly run down the sides of the cake.

    Recipe source 

The original recipe says that it serves 6, but let me tell you, if you've used dark chocolate for this one as I did, there is no way one person could eat 1/6 of this cake in one sitting! It is just too rich! I have been cutting myself slices about 1 inch wide and that is certainly enough for me! (The image of someone trying to eat a whole 1/6 of this cake brings to mind one of one of my favourite childhood movies, Matila where Bruce Bogtrotter is made by Miss Trunchbull to eat that whole cake! Haha)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Women's Fashion Collection: Quick Update

So, the women's fashion collection I am working at the moment is starting to really come together. I have finished my sketches, bought my fabric and today I started sewing garments, however not everything is going to plan!

You see, at first I envisioned a complete collection based around leotards and swimwear - the perfect collection for us Aussies as we are coming into summer, and versatile enough for northern hemispherians to wear in fall, as all the pieces allowed for layering. Then I talked to mum about her experience with sewing leotards. Then, I threw a minor BF (bitch fit) and discarded nearly my whole collection.

My new collection has a little less focus than the first and was originally supposed to be tied together with my key choice of colours and fabrics. Needless to say, clearance tables at spotlight had other ideas for my collection and now there are a few pieces of my collection which probably don't entirely fit in with the overall look I was going for, but can still be worn with the other pieces I have made.

I don't want to give too much away about the clothes I am making, and so I am very sorry for the lack of posts you have been receiving lately, but I thought I needed to write this particular post to let you all know how I am going with the momentous task ahead of me. I call it momentous because in all truth and honesty, I have so far only completed one garment for the collection...
With only one week to go before our scheduled photo shoot...

Yep, call me crazy, but I am trying to complete an entire collection of clothing in just 7 days! Needless to say, at first the clothes will only be available as one-off's in the model's sizes (thank god we are all the same size cos I have no idea who is wearing what yet, and specifically making outfits for each model would have been a nightmare!)

I also thought that I would share that I am making a pact with myself to sew (at least) one garment per day every day next week. More than just a fun challenge for myself, this is the only way I will get my collection done, as I have at least 5 more garments to make to round off the collection and make it look complete, and I also want duplicates of some things to keep for myself!

I found a great pattern today to alter for the tops that I am planning on making (simple tank design used to get dimensions right for the slightly unusual and very prettied up version of a tank that I am doing), and as a bonus - it was free! I also have a 50% off coupon for simplicity patterns which I may put to use to buy another simple pattern which I can use to get sizing right on the dresses I am making, otherwise I may just have to make the dresses custom order only, and make them to fit individuals.

Anyway, I should be off, I have so much sewing to do it is ridiculous, but I promise you will still hear from me over the next week (if only minimally!!)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Gluten-free bread making!

So, in the follow up to my last post, here is the first of what I assume will be a series of baking posts about gluten free foods :)

Ever since my gluten-free diet began, I have been craving a jam sandwhich, so this afternoon, I baked some bread!

My boyfriend's mum gave me the bread mix which she got for $1 on sale from Coles (what a ko-ink-i-dink that my gluten-free diet started two days later!), and today I bought a good quality, industrial bread tin and decided to give bread-making a whirl! :)

This is the brand of bread mix I used and I highly reccommend it!

The bread turned out so tasty and soft and moist - everything I love in a bread...

And to think I was worried it would taste like cardboard! I'm so glad I decided to bake my own gluten-free bread - the ones they sell in the shops just simply do not look appetising to me and they are super heavy! This bread is so light and fluffy that even non-diet restricted people would enjoy it. My dad certainly did! Needless to say, my jam sandwhich went down beautifully!

Sickness :(

So, I dont know if I have posted about this yet, as I was kinda over the worst of it when I started this blog, but I have had a lot of health problems lately. And by a lot, I mean A LOT.

It all started right before I commenced year 12. Yep, perfect timing body! Cheers for that! And for the last two years I have struggled through school, exams and life with a melange of illnesses and afflictions. You name it - I've had it: glandular fever, ross river fever, kidney infections, asthma, the lot! It affected my studies last year big-time, with me having to drop subject after subject to keep up on work missed when I was off school sick, and it peaked around July this year when I had 3 - 4 months of constant sickness, lethargy, fatigue and loss of appetite which resulted in my asthma returning to haunt me from my childhood and the loss of six kilos that my slight little frame couldn't really afford to lose. This, especially my lack of response to antibiotics and rapid (and scary) weightloss, prompted the doctors to start taking me seriously, treat me like less of a hyperchondriac and more like a seriously sick person who needs help.

Blood test after blood test was done, and nothing came up. Then, finally - lupus. Yep, the doctors found things in my blood indicating that I had lupus. If you don't know what this is, I'll wait for you while you Google it  (and what you find scares the crap out of you...)

All googled? Good. Yep, holy crap, right?!

So anyway, the next step was a trip to a specialist and then some more blood tests, but I had to wait for those because the doctors were hoping for a difference in the results. Well in the end, they got their results and their difference, but in the meantime I completly freaked myself out over the possibility of having lupus and never being able to lead a normal life again. I was told it was doubtful I had lupus, and then life carried on. Well, it did for them, anyway. I was still stuck in the same rut I'd been in all along. I was forever getting sick, had zero energy all day every day, had no appetite and couldn't go out drinking with my friends because every time I did I would wind up bedridden for at least the following week. The only difference between then and before was that the doctors had ceased to do anything to try and make me better. I cut back work to one day a week because I couldn't cope with doing anything more than that, starting sleeping longer, and completely gave up any notions of going out drinking ever again because I knew my body couldn't handle it. I even stopped going to the movies with my boyfriend if they finished later than 9, because I knew I had to be in bed by 9:30 if I wanted to be out of bed by 2pm the following day. Needless to say, not the kind of lifestyle an 18 year old dreams of.

This, as you can imagine, really affected my relationships both with my boyfriend and with my family and friends. It also severely affected my mental health. I started getting a bit depressed, and spent my days moping around the house, watching Harry Potter over and over again. Miraculously, I'm still not sick of Harry Potter, but here is about the time where mum started to get seriously worried about me, pulled me out of self-pity palace and sent me off to a naturopath. Conventional medicine had done shit all for me thus far, as far as she was concerned, and it was time to look at the alternatives!

Well, last Friday was my first trip to the naturopath. I put it off for ages, and then when I finally went, I did so dragging my feet and unbelieving in natural medicine (or expensive hippy bullshit, as I liked to call it!)

I can't even begin to explain to you how much that trip to the naturopath has changed my life already! One little talk/examination with a kind lady in an alternative medicines shop and, BAM! I'm practically a new girl! I won't go into detail about what she told me, because it will take me even longer than this post has already, but basically, my body isn't absorbing the nutrients it needs and I am especially low in zinc and magnesium, the energy-making nutrients. The naturopath explained to me all the inner workings of my body, and theorised about why I am not getting what I need out of the food I eat (I have a really good, balanced diet, so it's not as though I'm not eating the foods with nutrients in them). She thinks that I possibly have a bacteria in my stomach that is stealing my nutrients, but only a trip back to the doctors and a piece of poo in a specimen jar will tell us that for sure, so in the meantime she has given me some great advice to give my body the best chance it can have to absorb the nutrients out of the foods I am eating:

  1. No gluten! This one is probably the hardest of the advice-rules because I love cake, but I am slowly getting used to it :) Apparently, gluten bloats your intestines, reducing the surface area available for absorbing nutrients.
  2. Dairy after meals, not before!  Dairy puts a lining on your stomach, hard fr nutrients to penetrate.
  3. Fresh juices! I'm actually loving this one! Juice is good and easier for my poor fatigued body to digest :)
  4. Eat less red meat! Hating this one, but luckily she told me to cut back on eating it, not to cut it out altogether :) Meat is hard for your body to digest, and for me, it is more energy than it is wort apparently.
  5. Lots of nuts, leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, lettuce, celery), mushrooms and fresh foods. Cutting back on preservatives has been easy since I haven't been eating gluten (basically halves your intake of preservatives straight up), and the leafy greens are delicious, especially in juice!
  6. Vitamin supplements! I am currently taking three: zinc, magnesium and St. Mary's Thistle, but depending on how my body copes with eating less red meat, I may have to start taking iron as well.
The last two days, I have really felt the difference in my energy levels from this new diet, and I'm hoping my energy levels will continue to increase as my body adjusts to it's new diet and I explore the cause for my lack of nutrients. I hope this post hasn't been too long and boring for you all, but I thought I should give you an insight as to why an 18 year old has so much time for sewing and blogging, and also because I thought you needed a back story for the next two posts I will be doing about gluten free baking that even normal people people without diet restrictions can enjoy :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Exciting news!

Hey guys, I have some exciting news for you all...

I'm designing a small collection of women's clothes to be sold in The Corner Store in Evans Head and in my soon-to-be-launched Etsy and Made It shops! I can't say much about it yet, but it should all be completed in the next two weeks, just in time for a photo shoot with my good friend Amira Moore who is currently trying to get her photography business off the ground. She is an amazing photographer and an all around top person, so look forward to seeing her photos up here on this blog!

As you can imagine with a two week deadline to complete a whole collection of women's clothes, I am super dooper busy over here picking fabrics, drawing sketches and drafting patterns, so blogging may be a little delayed until this whole thing is complete, but that will only give you more time to build up your anticipation for the big reveal that will most certainly happen once I am all done and dusted!

Well, I'm off to "pull my finger out" and get things rollin' like a rissole! Wish me luck!


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

What a busy day!

Hello lovely bloggers,
Today has been a MASSIVE day for me in the best and most creative kind of way. I got so much stuff done that I don't know where to start as far as posting goes, so I thought I'd maybe write a little, show a lot!

Here is what I've been up to:

Yellow Shabby Rose Hair Clips
Custom order crochet necklace for my good friend Amira
Purple baby set for my cousin and his fiance's new arrival
Blue and white gingham dress (fostering my new love for ric-rac!)
Hope this has inspired you to get creative! What have you been up to today? Anything exciting?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Busy week!

I've been feeling super guilty all this week about not blogging/making anything and the fact that my last few posts were sheduled, and so I haven't actually written a blog post in ages, but sometimes life just gets in the way of things and that's what hapened this week. I worked an extra shift at the childcare centre, went mad cleaning in anticipation of my parents selling our house, had two birthdays and a baby shower to attend, homemade presents to make and a visiting recently engaged and pregnant sister-in-law to catch up with, and that's just the start of it!

I somehow in the middle of it all managed about 4 trips to spotlight, and I now had a decent stockpile of craft stuff and fabric sitting in the cupboard itching to be used, but no chance to do anything with it. This afternoon is the first time I have felt relaxed in quite a while, and also the first time I've felt creative in a while, so hopefully I'll have some more beautiful things coming your way soon!

In the meantime, I posted a little bitty paragraph about some felt cupcakes I made last week to keep you all feeling cute and crafty, and feel free to pop on over to my pinterest and take a look at what is inspiring me at the moment, and possibly what you might see on my blog soon!

A few things I find pinteresting to start you off:




Little felt cupcakes!

Could there be anything cuter on this Earth than these little felt cupcakes I made?

Seriously, so cute!

I followed this tutorial and of course, tweaked it a little to suit myself, and I think they turned out great! Well, all except the first one. It somehow got glued to my fingers and now has glue stains on the pink felt :( If ever there was a time to rob a bank it's now because I don't think I have any fingerprints left! Hot glue isn't very kind to the ol' fingers!

I'm going to use mine as a pin cushion, but I imagine they could also be used as fake food for tea parties or as decorations in a little girl's room. What do you think? Cute enough for you to have a go? They're super easy!
The pins look like sprinkles when you push them in - I'm totally in love!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Polka dot bubble romper

A couple of weeks ago, Whimsy Couture had a massive pattern sale on Etsy where they were selling four patterns for $20. That's like getting four patterns for the price of two!!!

I took mega advantage of this sale by buying the criss cross tunic pattern, the shirred bubble romper pattern (I'm obsessed with shirring right now - so cute and fun!), the twirl knot dress pattern which I first saw on girl. Inspired. And the sleeves and straps pattern (such a great addition to any pattern collection!).

Here is the first thing I have made from my new little collection of Whimsy Couture patterns - the shirred bubble romper.

I found this fabric in the remnants bin at spotlight super cheap and thought it was absolutely perfect to make something for a little bubba out of!

I absolutely love how the bubble romper turned out. The Whimsy Couture Patterns are so easy to follow and super descriptive!

I added the shirred flutter sleeves from the sleeves and straps tutorial for extra cuteness and to make the polka for material seem more feminine, and up cycled this red bow from a costume I bought off eBay but never wore.

I love how this little outfit came together! It's a size 6 to 9 months and is now available to buy at The Corner Store in Evans Head.

I know I just finished this one, but I already have fabric in mind to make another gorgeous shirred bubble romper. I have a baby shower coming up to go to - maybe that could be my present?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Melissa's baby shower

On Sunday, my friend from work, Melissa, had her baby shower. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the event, but here is a little look at what I made for her little girl.

I love seeing babies in yellow, and since she knows she is having a girl, I guessed that everyone would be absolutely loading her up with pink, pink and more pink. (I guessed right - it was everywhere at the baby shower!)

Although yellow is a unisex colour, I kept my decorated singlets and little gingham bloomers feminine with floral accents and bows. I really hope she likes them, and I can't wait to see Bub in them when she arrives!

Friday, 5 October 2012

When things don't go to plan - refashion!

Ever had a day when absolutely nothing goes to plan? Including your sewing projects? Being the "take it and run" girl I am, I always rush into projects without fully thinking them through or reading the instructions properly and quite often this is when a disaster will happen!

Luckily, we have our good old friend "refashion" to come to our rescue at times like these, and that's exactly what she did the other day when the fat quarter pillowcase dress I made turned out uneven and unsellable.

I was trying to combine The Mother Huddle's Fat quarter pillowcase dress with their knot front pillowcase dress and didn't read the whole way through the instructions before starting to sew. I thought the way I did it would work, but I made the diagonal cuts for under the arms too big and when I put the split in the material for the tie, it was not centred and didn't allow for the dress to gather enough to look good. Luckily, I had an idea up my sleeve!

I just chopped the top off, re-hemmed and ran a few lines of shirring across the top and -voila! A cute, shabby-chic skirt to use up the gorgeous fat quarter bundle I bought from Always Knitting and Sewing on Ebay.



This skirt is on sale now at The Corner Store. If you're in North-Eastern NSW, drop by Evans Head and check it out!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Corner Store

Remember how I told you I joined a craft co-operative which has started a shop for handmade goods?

Well yesterday was my first shift working in the shop and I thought I would share a few pictures of the shop itself and all the beautiful handmade things it sells. Seriously, who would have thought there were so many talented and creative people in little old Evans Head?

It is seriously such a beautiful shop and I encourage anyone on the far north coast of NSW to take a little trip down to Evans to see it. While you're at it you might enjoy a walk along the beautiful Evans head beaches which Jade from JadeCoral Photography captures in her postcards.

Evans Head is a beautiful little beachside town and this shop, full of unique, handmade goods is exactly what it needed!

Even the shelves are handmade by a local furniture maker!
Can you see the carved dolphins in the supports?

Look at these fabric sculptures! Aren't they awesome? Yvonne, the lady who makes them also runs sculpture classes. She is so talented! The picture doesn't show it very well, but the clothes are draped so beautifully and realistically and the detail is amazing!

See if you can spot anything I've made in these pictures!

It is such a surreal feeling having the things I have made sold in a shop! I still can't believe it! I hope you've enjoyed all the pictures of these beautiful and unique handmade goods!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Crochet Necklace Tutorial

Look what I've been making!

Aren't they cute? And so easy too! if you know the basics of crochet, you will have no troubles with this tutorial, and even if you don't - grab a crochet hook and watch a YouTube tutorial on basic crochet techniques and off you go! If you have any troubles, just leave a comment and I'll get back to you, or if you're not keen on crochet but still want a cute little necklace, I may just put some on Etsy for you, if you ask nicely! I will also be selling these little beauties at The Corner Store in Evans Head.

I am self-taught at crochet and therefore may not be using proper crochet terms (any that I do use will be Australian terms, more than likely, but I hope you get the gist of what I'm saying!)

Sorry that I haven't taken any photos of the process... I usually crochet at night and my camera is super crappy at this kind of thing. Maybe now I've entered the blogging world it's time to get a digital SLR? I know the thrill-seeking boyfried wouldn't mind me having a good camera to catch him in action!

You will need:

  • A crochet hook
  • Some yarn
  • Fabric stiffener
  • A length of chain (I use about 50cm, but just make it however long you like your necklaces to be)
  • Four jump rings
  • A lobster clip
  • Scissors 


1. Start your crochet however you usually start it (I make a loop then pass some yarn underneath it and pull it up with my hook, making a slip knot). Chain a length of yarn to the width you'd like your finished panel to be. I usually chain about 28 with the thin yarn I use, if you're using thicker yarn, chain 20. Make sure the amount of chains you do is a multiple of four.

2. Chain three and turn your work. Now treble into every chain you have made, skipping the first three chains. 

3. Chain one and turn your work. Chain three, then treble into every fourth stitch you made. Continue this along the entire work, chaining three then trebling into every fourth stitch below.

4. At the end of the row, chain one and turn your work. Now you need to treble six into each chain four gap to make a scalloped edge. If you wish to make the smaller of the two necklace designs, once you have done this, fasten your work and you are finished your crochet panel. Move on to step 6. If you wish to make the larger, fasten your work and start your crochet on your hook again. 

5. Chain into the first gap between your groups of six trebles to attach your new piece of yarn to your work again. Repeat step 4, trebling six into each gap between the groups of six trebles. Fasten your work when you have trebled into the last remaining gap. 

6. Sew your end threads into your work and cut short so that you can no longer see them. 

7. Stiffen your crochet panel with fabric stiffener. Most labels will give you directions to follow with the choice of dipping your panel into the stiffener or working it in by hand. I find working it in by hand to be most effective and less wasteful. To do this, pour a 50c piece worth of stiffener into your hand and massage it into the panel. Make sure the panel is completely saturated. If it is not, pour a little more stiffener into your hand and work it into the drier areas. On the bottle, it should say to leave your panel in a tray to dry overnight, however, I find this makes it a little too stiff, and am extremely impatient, so I zap mine in the microwave for 30 seconds instead. Don't leave it in for any more than 30 seconds, because you will burn it! 

8. After your panel has been made stiff, open your jump rings and push one into each side of your crochet panel. Cut your piece of chain in half and thread an end loop of each piece into the opened jump rings attached to the crochet panel. I just use crappy scissors to cut my low-quality chain, but if you're using a good quality chain, use pliers. Attach another jump ring to each end of the chain, adding a lobster clip on one side for fastening your necklace, and voila! You did it! You made a necklace! :)


I love making these gorgeous little necklaces. They are relatively quick, look super cute, and you can knock up the crochet panels while sitting in front of the TV - and who doesn't like craft projects which can be done while watching TV? It lets you be lazy and productive at the same time! Happy crocheting everyone, and I hope you love your necklaces as much as I love mine!