Category Archives: creative stuff

Salted Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts and Pretzels

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I am obsessed with anything salted caramel – salty and sweet is just the best combination.

In my search for great gifts for Christmas I wanted to try a simple, cost effective recipe we could give to extended family and work colleagues.  I have “heard” that flavoured popcorn is the new macaron and I LOVE popcorn so my mind set to thinking!

After some experimenting, I present to you my salted caramel popcorn with peanuts and pretzels….I apologise but it’s incredibly more-ish and if you try to just sneak a little taste the little taste will turn in to a big taste and you may end up skipping a proper meal in favour of this amazingly awesome sweet treat.

Recipe:

1/4 cup popcorn kernels – or if you prefer to buy already popped around 2 cups of popped corn

1 cup salted pretzels – I reckon the ones you buy at the Continental delis in big bags are better than the supermarket style ones but hey, I’m not that fussy!

1/2 cup peanuts (if you’re allergic or worried about gifting to someone with an allergy then you could use dark chocolate chips!)

Pop corn in your preferred way and place on a lined baking tray so it’s all nice and flat – use two baking trays if you need. Sprinkle over your pretzels and peanuts.

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups brown sugar (you could use caster sugar but I like the brown sugar taste personally)

1 tablespoon salt (use less if your peanuts are salted)

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon baking soda

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, adding sugar, water and salt and leaving to bubble away for around 10 – 12 minutes until you think it’s looking a lovely deep caramel colour.  Don’t stir it but you can swish the pan around a little if you like. Stirring disrupts the awesome caramelisation of the mix and we don’t want to mess with that!

Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda.  Watch magic happen as it transforms in to a bubbling, golden lava. YUM! Be careful though cos it’ll burn you big time.

Carefully pour it all over the popcorn mix and if you can, use a lightly oiled knife or spatula to give it all an even coverage.

Let it set!

It’ll keep in an airtight container for at least a week, maybe more depending on how often you go in to sneak a piece!

I also turned this into a DIY gift…packaging up the corn kernels, sugar, salt, bicarb soda (in a little pouch), pretzels and peanuts in a jar and topping it with a little paper bag so that the recipient could use the bag to eat the popcorn out of.  I also used a paint swatch card to write up some instructions on what they should do to make up their popcorn.ImageAre you mad about salty and sweet too?  I’m going to experiment with some chilli and chocolate flavour next for the grown boys in my life who are partial to that kind of caper.  What flavours would you like to try?

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Handmade Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for Teen Boys

Christmas Gifts for Teen Boys
Today’s gift guide is all about teenage boys, a category notoriously difficult to buy for …. because there are only so many video games (do they still call them video games?) a young man needs surely!!
Our ideas embrace the quirky, geeky and we have two awesome DIY options too.
1. Hangry cushion – from My Bearded Pigeon $48.10 US – etsy store here
2. Black leather handmade notebook – via Buntmal $30 US – etsy store here
3. Dalek cross-stitch (this is super dooper cute for the Dr Who fan!) – $27 AUD made by This Grand Life – madeit store here
4. Wallet designed and made by the awesome folk at Kitty Came Home $ – etsy store here
5. DIY Option – an Ice Cream Care package + online movie voucher of your choice.  This idea is from The Misadventurous Maker (see her original post here) and also appeared on Fat Mum Slim here – cost is up to you as to how fancy you make it.
6. A DIY gadget cover tutorial via Curlypops here – I would be very surprised if a teenage boy didn’t have a gadget of some type!
Have you got a teen boy to buy for? What are they in to?

Handmade Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Lovelies for the lovely little girls

Handmade Christmas gift guide for girls

Hello lovelies…

Day 3 in the series compiled with Cat, it’s all about girls. The other Cat is the lovely mumma of two girly whirlies (as I call them) and we were both little girls once upon a time too!

As an aunt to a few nieces I’ve always relished buying beautiful toys that spark imaginative play and our gift guide features some gorgeous handmade items, including one of Cat’s!

1. Handmade Dolls, cats, koalas and more by A Little Vintage, various prices. I personally want one of each. Cat and her girls own a koala named Mildred. Etsy shop here.

2. Wooden Toadstool house puzzle by Raw Toys $37 AUD. I have a weak spot for wooden toys and these make great unisex gifts too! Madeit shop here.

3. Dress up Rainbow bird wings by Sparrow and B Costumery $66.95 US. My girls would love these, we adore anything rainbow in our house. Etsy shop here.

4. Australian biscuits and cakes felt food set by Wombat’s Picnic $30 AUD, madeit shop here. My Mr 2 would absolutely love these too!!!

5. Crochet Rainbow bracelet by The Black Sheep Crafts $8 AUD, madeit shop here. Just quietly, I would like one of these myself! And one might be making it’s way to a niece in my life’s Christmas gift bag!

6. DIY Tutorial: Make your own hair ties, this tutorial could not be easier.  I am going to have to give this a go for myself!

We would love to know what else you buy for the little girls in your life?

Cat xox

Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for little men

Today in our series Cat and I are sharing some ideas of what to give the little men in our lives….I may know a thing or two about little boys and my boys have several of these already and love them!

My little boys are creative players, puzzle do-ers, collectors and avid readers and our list reflects the kinds of things they love doing.

Gifts for little men
Row 1:
Marble Starter Kit by Flower Press by Flower Press $30.75AUD – etsy store here
Pirate Messenger Bag Satchel for Kids Mee a Bee $25AUD – store here  my boys carry their crayons, twigs, leaves, small notebooks, toy cars, planes, trains. compasses, torches and all manner of things in these bags (not all at once!) and they’re small enough for them to sling over their shoulders comfortably
Row 2:
Dimple Wheel Cushion by One Pear $45AUD – madeit store here (two little boys in my life may be receiving these exact ones for their reading corner in fact)
Handmade soft toy superhero “Edwin” by Tiny Morsels Emporium $24.16AUD – etsy store here Someone better snap this one-of-a-kind up before I do!!!! He’s adorable.
DIY Tutorial: Circus Paper City by Made by Joel – free! – blog here We have used a number of Joel’s tutorials now and they are all great. You could make a beautifully presented gift by pasting on to thicker card stock and presenting in a lovely tin.
Special offer: As a special offer today Jacqui from Mee a Bee has offered free shipping for anyone who wants to order a bag from her store.  I have gifted every small person in my life one of Jacqui’s bags and they are brilliant.  To claim this offer just enter: BELOVERLY at the checkout.

Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for the sweet littlest ones…

Welcome to the first in a co-authored series of blog posts by Cat from Raspberry Rainbow and me.
Our series of guides focuses on handmade, homemade, local and also includes some DIY tutorials.  Over the coming days we will have some little surprises for you so stay tuned!
On Day 1 we give to you our guide for babies featuring some of our favourite makers and generally clever clogs’.
It seems it’s been influenced by my love for clouds but there are some gorgeous pieces to suit any budget here.
We also have a special offer for you below!
Row 1:

Baby Mobile/Owls and Clouds Hanging Mobile/Nursery Mobile $49.42 AUD by Gosh and Golly – etsy store here

Chalkboard onesie by Bubby Makes Three $24AUD- madeit store here

Baby Bib “Somewhere over the Rainbow” by CurlyPops $15AUD – store here

Customisable world map print by My Sweet Prints $35AUD – store here

Row 2:

Organic and bamboo cloud trackies by the smallest tribe (seriously, you can’t go wrong with ANYTHING Kathryn makes and we had to stop ourselves listing her in every category) $40AUD – store here

DIY Tutorial: Hot Air Balloon Mobile e-Pattern (PDF) by Craft Schmaft $9.88AUD – etsy store here

Wooden blocks alphabet 26 letters by little sapling toys $49.42AUD – etsy store here

Special Offer: The lovely folks at Little Sapling Toys are offering a 10% discount on any toys purchased in their etsy store. To redeem just enter the code LOVELY10 at the checkout.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for babies that we need to know about?

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? For the first time in years I haven’t!!!

Lessons in parenting: the dealing with setbacks edition

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Last week Bebito and I set about making his gift for his much loved Grandma (my Mum). I asked him what he wanted to make and after some thought he decided upon a necklace. Kellie put me on to this great tutorial on making a clay necklace. I knew it would be perfect.

So we set about making it together…rolling and chatting and chatting and chatting (well he did most of the chatting!) and poking holes. It was fun. The best kind of crafting together fun.

Only, the thing is, that I forgot to account for the difference in temperatures…the tutorial and indeed the clay was listed in Fahrenheit not Celsius!!! I popped the beads in the preheated oven and a few minutes later returned to the kitchen where there was smoke billowing from the oven. And oh boy, the smell!!!!

Let me say, I’m usually quite good in a crisis. I’m clear headed and calm and I leave my freaking out til later. EXCEPT when it comes to fire. I am not good with fire. So I did what any normal person would do and rang my husband. Because of course that was going to fix it! I mainly wanted to check whether it was a good idea to open the oven. I was worried adding extra oxygen to the situation would be ok and not burn the whole house down! My Mr was the rational man he always is and talked me through it. He sometimes must think he’s married to a complete ditz! Anyway, major crisis was averted.

I was however worried how Bebito would react. He has his Mama’s propensity to get a bit upset when things don’t go according to plan. He asked a million questions but actually coped well. He actually thought it funny more than anything, especially when the drama died down.

That night as we reflected on his day together he asked if we would try again. He knew we had more clay and we hasn’t actually achieved what we had set out to. I really didn’t want to! Fire! I made a mistake. One that could have ended terribly. But it didn’t.

Sometimes the teaching moments in parenting are just so obvious and this was one. A mistake shouldn’t stop you in your tracks. You should pick yourself up, try again, learn along the way. I had to set that example. So, we did it again, this time, only better and he made one for me too (his idea!). One that I will proudly wear for the rest of my days as a reminder of how much he is teaching me as much as I am teaching him.