What with the celebratory week I have just had: birthday parties and mother’s day, I have been baking just a little.

But on the flip side we have been quite overdoing the green smoothie (frozen peas, pineapple, ginger and spinach – trust me — it’s good!) and the homemade muesli thing too – just to add some balance to all that cake.

For my 12 year old’s (second) birthday party this year, I was commissioned to make a double layer marble cake filled with vanilla cream. It was actually incredibly delicious and light (I adapted a sponge cake recipe instead of making a butter cake). And for a different kind of treat bag I made giant chocolate chip cookies. I don’t know about you but I am so sick of the treat bags full of junk – so I decided to take a stand and the giant cookies were much loved and admired by all.

Recipes: For the cake and cookies I adapted recipes from two of my fave cook books: Milk & Cookies and Gran’s Kitchen. But I did a little online search and found a few recipes that might fit the bill if you don’t have these two fantastic I-don’t-know-how-I-would-cope-without-them books. Giant chewy choc chip cookies :: Marble butter cake :: Victoria sponge cake :: Kale and pear smoothie :: Monster smoothie :: Homemade muesli

Quilt market: for those non-quilters and others who live in a different universe – Quilt market is on and reports have started to filter in: Spoonflower :: Uhandbag. If you can’t make it – you can join the Blogger’s quilt festival.

At whipup this week the creativity series continues: A failed attempt to control the chaos :: Healing through craft :: The stream of inspiration runs both ways :: Crafting brings the joy :: I’m mostly a self taught creative type. Please share your stories by commenting at these posts.

Fun online tutes: dino hoodie :: Fun sandals :: Fly with me quilt block :: Project run and play.

On my book pile:

Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. Published by Stash April 2012. Favourite quilt bloggers + favourite quilt book publisher = great quilt book! Super ideas for using up your scraps and some really fun quilt designs too. Beginner quilters will love the sections on sorting your scraps and quilting techniques, while others will want to just get stuck into the quilts themselves. The quilts are mostly simple in design and constructions and take advantage of the ad-hoc nature of scraps to create quilts that are a little bit improv and a little bit structured. And of course the best thing about scraps is that they don’t rely on any particular fabric line — they are about playing with colour, which I love.

Making Mini Books with various contributors and published by Lark Crafts April 2012. Oh the wonderfulness. The variety. The inventiveness. This book contains a whole bunch of diy mini book book projects from the sweet and simple to the complex and artistic. Using different materials, paper, leather, recycled junk, wire and twine — to teach you how to make traditionally bound books, or more unusual books. You’ll be inspired.

The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids By Whitney Cohen and John Fisher (from life lab). Published by Timber Press May 2012. A bunch of gardeners, educators and parents got together to create Life Lab, a nonprofit organisation in Santa Cruz, California in 1979. Life Lab’s mission is to teach people to care for the world and them selves and each other through garden based programs. They have camps and internships and classes where they not only teach kids but also parents and teachers. So now Life Lab has written a book about their philosophy along with practical stuff from years of experience and classes – such a fantastic resource. With projects from designing play friendly gardens to getting creative with your planting pots, learning about what to plant where and when and how to test your soil. These activities are all aimed at families working with their kids and would make for some great homeschooling projects too. There is too much in here for this short review – so I urge you to go and grab a copy for yourself.

[Thanks to publishers and distributors for sending me books to review, I don’t get paid to post reviews but I am an amazon affiliate] (Australians can purchase craft books online through can do books or booktopia or else browse booko for the best prices.)

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One of the biggest pleasures for me during holidays is the food – the cooking, the smells and tastes, and the family pushing and shoving — uhm gathering around to appreciate all that you do for them. Food = love = family = togetherness.

This long weekend I am camping with my family. We go to our favourite spot on the coast with a few friends and their kids and their bikes and the fishing gear, and we swim, we light the fire, we cook slow foods (and hopefully some freshly caught fish too), we bring home baked goods to share, there is usually an Easter egg hunt for the kiddos who want to participate (uhm all of them) and we have a really lovely time with really special friends.

A few weeks ago my family and I put together the Action Pack Magazine for kids – the Easter Edition – only $4, so you too can share some lovely family time. It is filled with some easy and some more challenging recipes, crafts and (edible) science that kids can do — meanwhile you can put your feet up and enjoy the fact that your kids are independent and creative and congratulate yourself on your marvellous parenting skills by trusting them in the kitchen and giving them the freedom to grow!

If like me you are planning on a little camping adventure then you might want to grab our Great Outdoors Action Pack Magazine which is a big book full of fun outdoor science, adventure, games, cooking and art.

I have put together a few special recipes from around the web so you too can get into the holiday spirit. Decorate some eggs, bake some delicious foods, and have a lovely special holiday weekend.

Dyed Easter crafts

Foodie Easter Craft Recipes


Are you in desperate need for some last minute gift advice? What about wrapping gifts or making a few extra goodies for the stockings? Maybe you need an eggnog recipe or are desperate for some of that Chocolate bark … well here you go!

{These pics are of our tree and decorations this year*}

Scrappy and recycled gift wrapping:  You’ll find some last minute gift wrapping and decorating ideas in the Free Nuno edition || Cate Holst and Sally Cooper have some great last minute wrapping tips and foodie gifts for you to make || Craftzine has a few fun crafty gift wrapping ideas I especially like these burlap bows || and here is some colourful gift wrapping that the kids can get into making || A beautiful mess has some sparkly and bright crafty gift wrapping ideas that involve pipe cleaners, feathers and pompoms || the martha stewart crafts department are going a bit stylish || Alisa Burke is always creative – this year she combines brown paper, sharpies and white out pens || I love this idea – using popsicle sticks as gift tags

And for a snack while you wrap pressies, sing christmas songs and decorate the tree: Classic eggnog or gingersnap smoothies || Peppermint bark or spiced chocolate bark or a zesty bark or a salted caramel bark

  • p.s the Yarn Harlot has some words of wisdom about expectations this Christmas.
  • pps: oh and I might be making Baklava
  • ppps: In need of a laugh? Your man doesn’t appreciate your crafty ways? Read this – {thanks Jan}
  • ppps: *You can find out how to make the fun scrappy baubles, the party mask, the reindeer antlers and the silver tree that feature in these photos — all in the Action Pack Magazine for Kids {Celebration Issue}

Happy Christmas – Happy Hanukkah – Happy Solstice to you all

Thank you all for reading and supporting and all my adventures (and new ventures) this year – It sure has been a busy year – but I couldn’t have done it without you guys! Hope your holidays are filled with love and meaning.



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This week has been pretty hectic – with self-imposed deadlines and kids end of year school events. I started some holiday gift baking this weekend – what about you? Any recipe recommendations? Presents for neighbours, teachers and friends – a foodie gift is perfect and the end of the year is really sneaking up!

Cookies in a jar || Candied Ginger || Lavender salt || Herbs de provence (pictured – top right) || Lavender sugar || Soup in a jar || Honey and nuts  (pictured – top centre)||

Beetroot relish || Tomato paste || Bacon jam || Spice rub || Christmas butter ||

Polish cookies (pictured – below centre) || Wholemeal cookies || Shortbread  || Cranberry orange shortbread

Raw truffles || Swirly peppermint bark || Caramels (pictured – below right) || Date and rum bonbons || Chocolate salami || Fudge in a jar ||

Alsatian cake: Kugelhopf(pictured top left – I am making this – this weekend) || Kerala plum cake || Stollen || Panforte || Honey cake || Panettone || Christmas london cake || Date and cinnamon tart (pictured bottom left)

KIDDO FOOD GIFTS (to make and eat) :: Give your kids the gift of food
Stained glass window cookies || Pancake mix in a jar || Popcorn || Lollypops || Coconut marshmallows || Cranberry pistachio chocolate bark || Hot chocolate stir sticks || Nutella ||


Ami is the creator of the popular national wedding blog Elizabeth Anne Designs.  She loves fabric and paper crafting, handmade wedding ideas, and DIY gift ideas that can be used as wedding favors, birthday presents, holiday gifts, and more!

Hi Whip Up readers!  My name is Ami, and I am the editor of the Elizabeth Anne Designs wedding blog.  I’m so excited to stop by today to guest post while Kathreen takes some well-deserved vacation!

September + October means fall and fall means crisp nights perfect for campouts.  And campouts mean S’mores!  Here’s a roundup of my favorite DIY S’mores ideas:

{DIY S’more LOVE wedding favors – image by Meg Perotti, full tutorial on Elizabeth Anne Designs}

{DIY S’mores kit from Creature Comforts}

{S’mores on a stick + printable tags from Paper Stories, full tutorial on Elizabeth Anne Designs}

{S’mores kits created by Jordan Ferney, tutorial found at Project Wedding}

{Smores baggie kit and free printable from write. click. scrapbook.}

{S’mores cake in a jar, recipe at How Sweet It Is}

Enjoy and share your favorite S’more ideas in the comments!