Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baking my to way to Christmas

I must apologize...I am one day late.  Nevertheless, please allow me to still greet you all a 'Merry Christmas!'.  Hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday and are very much looking forward to the coming of a brand new year.

It's been a full-on baking week for me.  Made boxes and boxes of red velvet cupcakes to give away to family friends.  I've made this kind of cupcake several times for different occasions in the past two months and it has always been a big hit.  Topping the cupcakes with green coloured cream cheese frosting made them even more Christmassy!

For my brother and his family, though, I opted to bake something new and more special...

Chocolate/Green tea cupcakes!

It was my first attempt baking these. The cake was very light and moist, just the way I wanted it.  However, I did not put enough melted chocolate and so the chocolate portion turned out pale and lacking in flavour. I'll share the recipe next time when I perfect it, ok?

But here's one creation I am mighty proud of...

My Christmas pandan chiffon cake!  For an amateur cake decorator like me,  I think I did a pretty good job!

Here's what the cake looks like without frosting (but dusted lightly with icing sugar)...

I super, super love this cake!!!!  Discovered the recipe here sometime ago and have baked it several times.  Look no further because this is the best out there! 

Guess what I got for Christmas?  This... 
...a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer in beautiful candy apple red!  Am I lucky or what???  Well, lucky is not exactly the right word...but blessed...I am so blessed to have a family who supports me in what I love doing.  Remember when they gifted me with a sewing machine on my last birthday?  It's not so much about having these material things though.  I am a stay at home mom with four kids and I know that my husband, most especially, wants me to be fulfilled in whatever I choose to do, even if I am not working for pay outside the home. 

Well, that's it for now.  I must take a break from baking and sew something for a change.  Will be back real soon with some project, promise!

Have a great and safe new year ahead!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Heat is On!

Even after 9 years of living in Australia, I don't think I will ever get used to the fact that the Christmas season here coincides with summer.  Somehow, it just doesn't feel right to me. While it did not (and still doesn't!) snow in the Philippines (where I grew up), a cool change in the weather during the months of December and January was always very welcome.

In this part of the world at this time, it BURNS.  It's so hot and dry, my sweat seems to evaporate even before it gets the chance to drip out of my skin.  I don't like summer at all for somehow the heat kills my Christmas joy in general. I would even say I actually hate it if not for one small reason...

The only time I am able to confidently bake bread is during hot weather. There are even times when I look forward to the heat just so I could successfully work with yeast.  Anyway, yesterday was one of those 'good to bake with yeast days'.  It was a scorching 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 deg F).  I decided to make some bread rolls for dinner. Don't you just love the smell of freshly baked bread in the kitchen?

Those are really beautiful...I really wish I could make them everyday.  The recipe came from here.  I skipped the corned beef filling and the bread crumbs, but will certainly try that variation some other time.  One of these days, I am also going to give this a go.

Can't believe it's just a week till Christmas day.  Admittedly, I have not done so much handmade stuff to give as presents this year.  Ok, I actually have managed to sew only one thing...this...

 ...and I'm not even too keen on giving it away.  This softie is One Red Robin's peg bear, the pattern and instructions of which appear on the new book One Yard Wonders.  I have been wanting to make one of this for a long time so I was really stoked to find the pattern in the book.

My gift-giving plans for Christmas?  I have gotten lots of rave reviews regarding my cupcakes lately that I've decided that, while I have no handmade presents this year, I will be giving away lots of my homebaked goodies. Next week will be a busy baking week for me!

In the meantime, it's nearly the Toy Society's Worldwide Christmas Toy Drop.  Have you got your toys ready?  I do!  Another exciting thing to look forward to.

Well, that's about it for now. I hope all is well with you. Will be back real soon!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Here's the Lucky One!

Just a quick post to say a huge 'Thank you!" to all of you who participated in this year's Giveaway Day.  Did you have fun?  I certainly did!

Of course...I am here to announce the winner!  The lucky number randomly generated is...

Comment #29 was made by Katie of The Caped Cow.

Congratulations!  I'll get in touch with you shortly.  I'm super excited to have the bag shipped out to you! Hope you'll like it.

To all those who signed up to be Heart of Mary followers just for this giveaway...I hope you'll stick around and keep on reading my little blog.  I promise you more interesting projects for the coming new year!

Again, thank you all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giveaway Day 2009


Welcome to Giveaway Day 2009

Well...the fact that you're here most probably means that you already know all about this wonderful day in crafting let's get straight to it, shall we?

This year, I am giving you the chance to win this gorgeous shopping tote!

(one side view)

(the other side)

You've probably seen this sometime ago in a previous post. Anyway, for the benefit of those who haven't seen this or don't remember...this is the Market bag, the pattern of which came from an issue of the Better Homes and Gardens Creative Collection magazine.  I don't know why they chose to call the bag such as I personally think it is too pretty to take to the market. 

This particular Market bag was made using 'Fig & Plum' 5" squares from Moda.  It is very nicely sewn up, if I may say so myself.  The bag is very roomy, about 17 1/2" by 13 1/2" by 4" in size.  Not only will this make a perfect shopping companion, it can also be a great overnight tote! interested?  Here are the mechanics:

1. If you haven't done so already, SIGN UP to be a Heart of Mary follower. You don't need to have a blog to do so.  By being a follower, you will not only be regularly updated on what's going on here, but you will also get the opportunity to connect with others in the blog community, especially with those with the same interests as yours.  As for me, I like clicking on those little thumbnail images and learning about you (or your blog, if you have one) as well.

To be a follower, just click on the Follow button located on the side bar where all the tiny pictures of all the current members are.

2.  I am willing to ship to anywhere worldwide BUT please be sure that the postal system in your country is reliable.  It would be such a pity if the bag doesn't reach you and just gets lost somewhere!

3.  Leave your name and email address in the comments section below.  Without this information, your entry will be invalid.  Don't worry...I will not spam you ever! 

4.  You will have until the end of the day of the 6th of December to join. The Giveaway Day winner will be determined by Random Number Generator on the 7th and will be posted here shortly after.  Winner will also be notified by email.

Simple enough?  Good...wait...there's more...

In the navigation bar at the top, you will find a link to my eBook Shop, Simple Things.  (Please take note that this is not the same as my Etsy Shop although all the items for sale are the same.) Purchasing any eBook from the 2nd to the 6th of December will entitle you to a second eBook, of equal or lesser value, for FREE!  If that sounds good to you, go to the shop right now and browse around. You might just find something you'd like to make and give away this Christmas. 

If you do decide to make a purchase, don't forget this most important thing. When you head on to Paypal to make your payment, tell me in the 'Instructions to Merchant' section which second eBook you would like to receive.  Your PDFs will be sent to you promptly to the email address associated with your Paypal account, unless you specify otherwiseLimit one freebie only per customer.

Well, that's about it!  I hope you all can join in the fun!  To go to the master list of all participating blogs and view all the other awesome giveaways, just click on the Season of Giving button below.  Good luck!

handmade holidays button