Barbie’s Pink Tea Party

The pink dress I made especially for today’s Pink Tea Party could very well be the most beautiful thing I’ve made so far! I think my Barbie is very pleased to have something so nice to wear to the party today, which is to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Pink  Saturday and is hosted at How Sweet the Sound.

The vintage doll’s cane furniture is the first thing I’ve ever bought from Ebay about two weeks ago. I remember when I was a little girl some of my friends had these but I didn’t, and when I saw them on Ebay I just had to grab it! There was also a four piece lounge set for sale with normal chairs instead of the peacock chairs, but because it was my very first ebay purchase, someone else bid at the very last minute so I lost! I didn’t make the same mistake on the peacock chairs though, and got them for $16 including postage. Probably a little on the expensive side for my modest doll collection as I’m not too serious about it, but I do believe the seller when they said this cane set is about 40 years old! I think it’s a very special thing.

Using a 2.5mm hook and a small ball of baby pink yarn, I started the doll’s dress on Monday afternoon and finished midday Tuesday, so it took less than one day. This is not the first dress I’ve made like this, although I think it’s an improvement on the orignal because it crosses over at the back so you can’t see her knickers – if she is wearing any! The Barbie dresses I make are inspired by a dress I’ve kept and treasured from my childhood which my mother tells me was made by my Nanna Pam. You can’t tell when she is sitting down, but you can pinch the skirt to make pleats appear. I am so tickled pink I could manage to make something as pretty as this!

In an attempt to preserve the doll’s hair as long as possible, I try and keep it tied up in a little snood. Anyone who has collected dolls knows how synthetic hair can ruin over time. But the pretty pink dress needed it’s own hat, so I decided to give making a bonnet a go! I looked on google for images of crochet doll bonnets, but there were not many that I could see. I remember a knitted bonnet I wore as a young child which folded neatly into a square, so I made one up kind of like that. I didn’t follow a pattern at all, and used the same stitches as in the skirt of the pink dress.

The tiny coffee table needed a pink doily, don’t you think? This is my first completed proper doily and it took me between 2 to 4 hours I think, finishing it last Thursday morning. I used a pattern in a book I borrowed from my local library on Monday called “101 Easy Scrap Crochet Projects“. The pattern for this doily is on page 40-41.

This doll’s setting would not be complete without a tiny doll’s teaset but when I looked on ebay for those I decided they were too expensive. But when David took me to the Salvo’s store last Saturday I saw this set for just $1! That was more like it I thought, but didn’t notice until I got to the counter that the teapot has been broken and glued back together. Oh well, I don’t think Barbie minds! And the tiny teddies don’t drink tea anyway. The cheeky things have hidden a big bottle of liquor to sip during today’s party, those Party Animals!!! A good thing too, because there is only one teacup!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my special pink tea party!
❤ ❤ ❤

For more pinkness check out today’s special anniversary of Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Highlights from this week’s party

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Pink Coladas, Pink Porridge

There are oh so many ways to bring pink into your life! Even a little splash of pink in food and drink can help! Here are two examples I use regularly.

My husband and I are in a very romantic phase at the moment. We’ve been together over three years now and I’m so happy our love is not diminishing like you’re sometimes told it will. We keep ‘lovey-dovey’ ice cubes in our freezer, and pop them into our drinks all the time, although now winter is coming, maybe not so often anymore! One of our favourite drinks is “Pink Colada”. Its just a normal pina colada, but instead of using pineapple juice we use apple and strawberry juice. Last night we made some, but this time we used Lychee Liquor instead of rum, and I served them in my special pink wine glasses, so these were some yumscious cocktails!

Now the weather is turning cooler, its time to use up the last of our porridge before I buy some more. I try and keep some raspberries in the freezer, buying them when they are on special, so we can throw a handful into our porridge, making it a very cute pink! Sometimes, we might have forest berries instead, or blueberries which are very healthy, and the porridge still comes out a rosy colour. Having pink porridge for breakfast is always a cute way to start the day, and my husband doesn’t mind at all! (and I rather like the messy dribbles, they make my foto more artistic, kk? lol)

We were going to visit my family today but aren’t going now. I’m disappointed because I got some gifts for the children, including this cute litte book, which I just noticed is Pink!
PS. Happy Mother’s Day for tomorrow!

And don’t forget to stop by Beverly’s blog for more details on Pink Saturday!
http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/my_weblog/

Each Sunday morning I like to visits lots of Pink Saturday posts, its a great thing to do while I have my morning coffee (as I’m in Australia, most of the posts appear for me during the night). I visit everyone who comments on my blog, and today I also visited all of our new Pink Saturday participants. One new blog I’d highly recommend a visit to is A Gathering of Thoughts by Rebecca, its a simply gorgeous site and very PINK!
❤ ❤ ❤

Feast for a Day – Valentine's (part two)

After much planning and a full day of preparation yesterday, this is what we actually ended up having for our special day-long celebration today for both Valentine’s and Chinese New Year.

breakfast
Love Heart Fried Eggs with Smoked Salmon, generous dollops of hollandaise sauce and a sprinkling of fresh chives
Homemade Tomato, Capsicum, Chilli and Garlic Pull-apart Bread
Peppermint & Lemon Balm Tea with honey
Chocolate Coffee with cream & sugar

mid-morning snack
Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch
Poorman’s Caviar with Corn Chips
Lemon Myrtle & Pistacio Biscotti dipped in cinnamon honey

lunch
Smoked Salmon & Carrot Sushi
more Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch

afternoon desert
Love Heart Icecream Cake with strawberries, chocolate sauce, and crumbled pink merringue

dinner
Lemon Myrtle & White Fish Cakes with Sweet Chill Sauce and Basil Fried Rice

How to make

Icecream Cake
6 scoops of strawberry shortcake icecream mixed with 6 cut up caramel chocolates, a handful of crushed cashews, 3 crumbled chocolate biscuits, press into a cling-wrap lined heart-shaped small cake tin and freeze overnight

Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch
1 can of fizzy soft drink (we used Lemon Squash), a tablespoon of fresh ginger juice (grate and mix with a little tonic water then strain), add cut up 2 nectarines, 1 orange, a handful of strawberries and love-heart shaped ice cubes, a handful of fresh mint leaves, top up with Mango Juice as required

Love Sprinkles and herbal Love Tea

I’m working on some herbal combinations, one is a herbal tea and another is some herbs to add to pasta sauce. I’m also working on a mix of herbs to add to a relaxing hot rice pack. All the herbs I’m using come from my garden and, according to tradition, are good for love and weddings!

Marjoram is thought to be the herb for ‘marital bliss’ and should be added to food to strengthen love! It has a very subtle flavour, so it will be the main ingredient of my Love Sprinkles. I’ve read marjoram is best dried, then elsewhere I read it’s best fresh, so who knows? I’ve dried a bunch already by hanging them up in a paper bag. I’ve started to remove some of the leaves to test how it holds its flavour. To that I’ll add a little rosemary, which is a strong flavour, and some flecks of chilli flakes for a bit of spicy passion! These herbs would be good added to pasta sauce or maybe vegetables. I hope to try it out very soon.

For a herbal Love Tea, I use peppermint, lemon balm and pineapple sage. This makes a subtly flavoured relaxing tea. As I used fresh herbs for this, it needed to be steeped quite long, about 10 minutes. Lemon balm is well known as a good herbal tea.

Here are three ideas I’m working on for herbal combinations which are good for love and weddings.

good for herbal tea (Love Tea)
pineapple sage – weddings, wisdom
lemon balm – love
peppermint – love & sleep

good for food (Love Sprinkles)
rosemary – weddings, memory
marjoram – weddings
chilli – passion

good for rest (Hot Love Rice Pack)
lavendar – love & sleep
lemon myrtle – love & sleep
oregano – weddings & sleep


The Herbs in Our Garden

One of my greatest simple joys at the moment is our cute little herb garden. Although it was a challenge to get established, it’s finally starting to become productive.That might be because our companion plants like basil and lavendar are growing nicely and their smelliness is discouraging pesky pests. Taking care of these herbs is a sure-fire tonic for keeping the blues at bay.

Growing your own herbs is a very simple and satisfying way to save money too. If you love good food, you would know having fresh herbs at hand is always best. Buying a bunch of herbs from the supermarket is wasteful, expensive and just not as good as growing them in a pot at your back door and taking a sprig or two as you need it. The absolute essential herb as far as I’m concerned, which is the first one we were able to successfully grow and harvest, is parsley. It’s very healthy, versatile and hardy. But now we have a bunch of other herbs that are turning out to be real joys, for example, having three types of basil and mint on hand is just wonderful!

Here is a quick break down of the herbs currently in our potted garden and what they are good for. Many also have traditional ‘magic’ properties too, which I think is nice to just keep in mind, even if you don’t fully believe in that kind of thing. After cross referencing several websites I found common themes amongst them using various words meaning basically the same thing. So I came up with three practical catergories that are meaningful to me.

aloe vera – skin (burns and rashes), “health”
basil (thai, all-year-round, sweet) – relative to peppermint, antioxidant and antibacterial, add last to hot food, “health & passion”
chamomille – flowers make a relaxing tea, also good for the skin “health & sleep”
chilli – antibacterial, good for nasal congestion, migraine relief, high blood pressure, good in winter, increases metobolism, “passion”
chives (garlic, onion) – like garlic and onions, antibacterial and antioxidant, but milder, fresh is best “health”
coriander – wonderful fresh herb for salads, “health & passion” (weddings)
lavendar – relaxing tea, migraines, insect repellant “health, passion & sleep”
lemon balm (a type of mint) – relaxing tea, stomach aches, pre-menstrual cramps, headaches, overuse can cause insomnia “health & passion”
lemon myrtle (eucalyptus, part of the myrtle family) – a relaxing tea, good for headaches, used in cooking for a mild lemon flavour, antioxidant “health, passion & sleep”
marjoram – food preservative, relaxing tea, good in cooking, upset tummy, headaches, mild antioxidant and antifugal, dried is best, “health & passion” (weddings) “add to food to share with your object of affection to strengthen love”
mint – good with peas, juices, punch, tea, icecream “health & passion”
oregano – antioxidant rich, antibacterial, close relative to marjoram, makes a good tea for nasal congestion, dried is best “health & sleep” (weddings)
parsley – high in iron, good for high blood pressure, tummy upsets and uti, breath freshener, toothache, constipation, detox, salads “health & passion”
peppermint – tea, indigestion, tummy upsets, IBS, cough suppressant, morning sickness, relaxing herbal bath, “health, passion & sleep”
pineapple sage – tea (with lemon balm), anti-anxiety, “health, passion & sleep” (weddings & wisdom)
rosella hibiscus – native bush fruit for making jam “passion”
rosemary – food preservative, cook with lamb, good for upset tummy, relaxing baths, may protect against cancer, use liberally in food, “health & passion” (weddings & memory)

resources
http://www.global-garden.com.au/gardenherbs.htm
http://www.scribd.com/Herbs-and-Their-Magickal-Properties
windspirit57.tripod.com/id4.html
http://www.earthwitchery.com/herbsa-g.html
http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/pagan/articles_magass.htm
http://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbMarjoramMag.htm
http://www.herballegacy.com/Branca_History.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_4436311_oregano-tea-rid-sinus-problems.html
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtaceae

Lavendar Afternoon

Last Easter, when we visited David’s father and his fiance in Stanthorpe, we stopped by a lavendar farm and got our very own lavendar plant to grow. So far it seems to have adjusted to the climate change (it can get very cold in Stanthorpe). We gave it a good sized pot and put a lucky grow charm at the base. I’m trying to shape it by pruning lightly. I’m supposed to do this after it finishes flowering I know, that’s why there aren’t as many flowers on it as there otherwise might be.  After the flowers finish, I deadhead them and keep the dried flower. It prefer’s a sunny spot and a good water, but doesn’t like to sit soaking.

After the stresses of the morning, I knew I had to take my stress management into my own hands and decided to make a lavendar bag! I made this one in about 30 minutes and did it by hand, not machine, as I did it for relaxation more than anything. It’s quite easy, this is how I did it.
Fold a scrap piece of pretty material in half with the back of the material on the outside, the front facing each other inside.
If a seam of the lip will fray, hem it first using blanket stitch and some matching coloured thread.
Using backstitch hand sew down the side of each of the two edges.
Turn the bag right way out.
Fold a scrap piece of thin white ribbon in half, put a knot in the end.
Sew the half way point of ribbon about an inch down from the top of the bag.
Put some tablespoons of dried lavendar inside and twist the ribbon around the bag to close it.

On one of our trips to Indoorpilly with David’s mum and his sister Michelle, we stopped by the T2 Tea shop, which is full of relaxing teas.  While we were there, some tea cups and saucers fell from a high shelf, as if of their own accord. One tea cup remained intact, so I declared it a lucky tea cup and bought it! I also picked up a packet of dried lavendar from there. Lavendar tea is very good for stress management and soothing migraines. I didn’t know you could drink lavendar tea like that, and through trial and error this is how I’ve come to prefer my lavendar tea.
Add 2 teaspoons of dried lavendar to a small tea pot with a removable mesh cup.
Fill with boiling water for no more than 2 minutes.
While waiting, jiggle the pot!
Test the colour every 30 seconds to make sure its not too strong.
Add 1 teaspon of sugar per teacup of tea before sipping.
Enjoy!

I remember a song my dad used to sing to me when I was little…
“Lavendar blue, dilly dilly, lavendar green.
When I am King, dilly dilly, you shall be Queen.
Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so.
Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, who told me so.”
/awwww

Lucky Love Charms for the Home

So much of what we do in our cultures is to reassure and lift the spirit. We place flowers about the home to celebrate life (although in some cultures, dead flowers mean death, so they prefer plastic ones). Symbols of a happy sun and golden round images for wealth are also popular. Fen Shui is a set of rules to decorate the home to create a feeling of peace and balance by reducing clutter and placing good luck charms in certain places.

David and I recently decided we would like to decorate our home with lucky love charms, or what we cheekily describe as ‘lovey-doveyness’. There is nothing profound about good luck charms. For me, it’s merely a symbol placed about and for good luck, it should be meaningful. This symbol reminds us how very important it is to have love in our lives, to have a home filled with love. To always speak to each other with a tone of love, to always save the best of ourselves for those who are dearest to us.

Getting out of the house is a bit of a big deal, but hunting and gathering for lucky charms for our home makes it more fun than intimidating.  I especially like the Russian Dolls who are perfectly sized to be a practical set of measuring cups, and they also have some lovey-dovey designs on their dresses! Only hassle is hand washing is recommended, but I think I can risk popping them in the top shelf of the dishwasher, maybe on a light cycle. The love-heart shaped measuring cups and spoons, dish and love heart coffee mugs were the booty from a trip to Indoorpilly Shopping Centre with David’s mum a month or two ago.  We also picked up the love-heart beach towel, which is actually a kid’s towel! Three cute little love-heart magnets go well on our fridge as a daily lovey-dovey reminder!

I really like the love heart shaped white Maxwell and Williams dishes, quite an impulsive buy which is unlike me, but they are particularly nice so I just had to have them. I did think they might be impractical but they do get used. At the moment one has drying rose petals from David’s mum’s house, another has our home grown tomatoes. Yes, the tomatoes are tiny. Good for homemade chilli relish or homemade pizza! I picked up the love-heart candle holder quite a few months ago when I went for a walk to the newsagent across the road to buy a gift card for someone. Can’t remember who it was, otherwise I’d remember when it was. Now it has some homegrown sprigs of lavendar in it. Well, that was good of me to walk across the road, wasn’t it? I should try it again sometime!

One of the best things we’ve nabbed is a love-heart shaped ice-cube tray from BigW. It’s plastic is pliable so it’s easy to remove the ice cubes and we use them all the time. What better way to remind yourself of the lovey-doveyness in your life than sipping on a cocktail with your love while sucking on love heart shaped ice cubes?! Interesting how the four love hearts look like a four-leaf clover, that’s luck right thar!

I nearly forgot to mention the lucky love charm hanging on our front door! I think this was meant to be a Christmas decoration, but now it hangs on our front door all the time! Beware – you are about the enter the House of Lovey-doveyness!!