Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Remembering mom

Last night, as we lay in bed, my 8-year old son asked me, "Do you know why ever since I was born, I have been happy to be in this world? Guess." I answered, "Because everybody loves you?" "No", he quickly said.  "It's because I have you."

I wish I was that expressive to my mother when I was young. I learned to be so only later in my life, when I truly realized how valuable my mother was to me.  I am comforted in the fact that she knew how much I loved her long before she passed away.

Today (27th of October) is actually my mom's birthday.  She would have been 85.  Although she is no longer physically with us, this day will forever remain special.  We celebrated...had a nice dinner with my brother and his family, had ice cream and cupcakes (baked them myself!)...but the celebration was no longer about the years my mom had here on earth but more about the new life she now enjoys in heaven.

Happy birthday, Mom!  I love you and I miss you.

PS. One last eBook to be given away in the shop!  Don't miss out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Special request to honor a little angel

I am very blessed to have four beautiful, healthy children.  I personally wouldn't know what to do if something bad would happen to any of them.  

When I hear of stories of babies born with medical issues or children suffering from serious illnesses, my heart really breaks.  And that is why when one mother came to me for a little request, I had no second thoughts about helping out, even in a little way.

A couple of days ago, I received this email...

Hi Corinne!......hope it's okay to just act like I know you and am sending a friendly email. Anyway, your blog/website is one of my favorites and I have a request. I recently started a project of starting eye masks for NICU babies that normally can't wear clothes and am hoping that you could send people my way to help out with this cause. .........I had recently lost my baby girl, Ireland Rose to a condition she was born with known as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia or CDH. Anyway, to honor her, I decided to make eye masks. My daughter's condition was found out while I was pregnant and during that time that I was making things for her...well, I knew she wouldn't be allowed clothes, hats or socks and wanted her to have something from me! ...thus, I came up with the eye mask. I kept researching and seeing these pictures of little newborns with blankets draped on their faces and well, I thought she'd look so cute with a custom made eye mask. .........Anyway, I could go on and on but my blog is at http://www.mybabysbling.blogspot.com/. I would love if you could post these and maybe interest people either doing this for their local NICU/hospital or having them make them and send them to me.

Thanks so much

Chanda has posted the pattern and instructions on how to make the baby eye masks on her blog. You can find details on what to do with the eye masks or where to send them in there too.  If you wish, you can also download the pattern directly from here.

I will be making some of these eye masks myself. Please extend whatever help you can. Thanks!

PS. To my Aussie friends, the Matchbox kitchen makeover competition is still on.  Please vote!

Only two more free eBooks to be given away in my shop! Hurry!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Secret Recipe - Cathedral Windows...please vote for me!

To all my Aussie readers,

Have you heard of "The Search for the Secret Recipe" from Matchbox?  If not, please view this video first...

I don't usually join competitions but I mustered enough courage to join this one.  After all, the main prize is so tempting...a $20,000 kitchen makeover!

My entry is my late aunt's recipe for Cathedral Windows, a special dessert which I had already shared with you
here before.  I am hoping the Australian public will love this even though this dessert is not widely popular Downunder.

The major winner will be determined by the Promoter and judge Poh (of Master Chef fame).  However, there will also be a Spot Prize for the Online Voting winner and this is where I will be needing your help...

To vote, you will need to register on the Matchbox (Secret Recipe) site, after which you can choose your favourite secret recipe.  My entry can be found here:

The Secret Recipe - Cathedral Windows

**update (19 October, 6:45am): If you've been clicking on this link and it says that 'the recipe you are searching is probably removed', please check again later today.  I added a second photo to my entry last night and approval is still pending.  Will probably get back up on the site later today. Thanks!

***update again (9:52am): Recipe is back up on website! Link should work now.

The good news is Matchbox is also giving away a Voter Prize, which means, if you vote you will also be eligible to win some great kitchen goodies!

Can I bother you with voting?  Please? Pretty please?

Competition ends on the 31st of October.

P.S.  The shop special offer is still on.  Looking for 3 more buyers to get a free eBook!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Some exciting changes and a special offer!

I nearly shed tears (and blood!) trying to make some cool changes to this blog.  Although I am quite computer savvy, HTML codes are just not my thing. I honestly had to google everything I needed to know.  I worked by head off, consumed hours and hours in front of the computer, and neglected a lot of my household duties in the process, just to make this work...and I think I finally did it...

You may notice that I now have a navigation bar at the top of the page, just below the banner.  Nothing much really.  That one was quite easily done.  Just a quick rundown of the choices:

Home - brings you to the most recent blog post
Free Tutorial PDFs - will open a new window which will allow you to download my tutorials in PDF format.  This replaces the previous widget on my sidebar.
My Etsy - will open a new window bringing you to my Etsy Shop, Simple Things

and last but not the least...the one that nearly killed me...

eBook Shop - will bring you to my new, alternate shop!

I've decided to create another shop, which links directly to this blog, just to give you a second option.  All the eBooks being sold there are the same ones in my Etsy shop. The prices are the same as well. If you want to purchase a pattern but you don't have an Etsy account (and can't be bothered opening one), you are most welcome to purchase directly from me.  In the process, you will be saving me a bit on Etsy fees too!

I invite you all to have a look.  The first page explains how the site works.  It's a small, simple shop, nothing fancy (as if I am capable to come up with anything fancy!).

I've tested all the buttons on the shop and everything seems to be in working order. Care to be the first one to try it out?  


THE FIRST FIVE BUYERS WILL GET AN EXTRA eBOOK OF EQUAL OR LESSER VALUE AS THEIR PURCHASED eBOOK FOR FREE!  Only one free eBook per customer (so even if you purchase more than 1, you will only get 1 free, sorry!).  After you complete your transaction on Paypal, return to the shop's homepage and leave a comment so I would know who the first five buyers were. On your comment, include what second pattern you would like to receive. Please also make sure you identify yourself so I can match you with your Paypal transaction.  

Take advantage of this offer!  Head on over to the shop now!

(I will put an update here as soon as the five transactions come through, just so you'll be aware.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

A sweet pinafore for a birthday girl

We've been invited to a 1st birthday party this coming Saturday. The little birthday girl is the same one I made some baby washers for sometime ago. I am not particularly close to the parents of this baby but her mother appreciated my handmade gifts so much that I thought it would be nice to make another handmade present.

I sewed this one up on the weekend.

I did not have a clue on how to go about sewing a baby dress so I quickly did a search on the internet for ideas. I thought a pinafore would be simple enough for me. There were a few tutorials available but I found no pattern. I had to draft one myself using a children's clothes sizing guide to help me.

It was hard to part with the Japanese Matryoshka fabric but I did not have any other fabric on hand suitable for a child that was big enough. I used snaps at the shoulder straps for closure (instead of buttons) for safety reasons. The dress is completely lined and has no exposed seams.

Even though I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, I just couldn't resist adding the small pockets.

Now I just have to pray the pinafore fits!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Super-soft Coffee Cupcakes

Twenty-four cupcakes...gone in a flash. My kids and I did not even let them cool completely. So soft and light, I can eat tons of these in one sitting.

Enough said. Just take my word for it.

Super-soft Coffee Cupcakes

1 cup less 2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 teaspoons instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven at 180C/350F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with regular-sized paper cups.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat at high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar while beating continuously.
4. Blend in vanilla, oil and coffee solution.
5. Add in egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition.
6. Lastly, add in flour/baking powder mixture. Beat until well blended.
7. Pour batter into prepared muffin pans. Bake in oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.
8. Remove from pans and let cool slightly in a wire rack before dusting the tops with icing sugar.

Best eaten while still a bit warm. Serve with tea or ice cream!Why not bake it today? So easy...