Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life Lately // The End of Something & New Beginnings

So I had a pretty crappy start to my week. For a start I hit a kitty while driving home from Dunedin to Invercargill. The poor thing had no chance and the plastic cover that sits above my wheel came off too! So I had a little cry on the side of the road & my Dad came and checked my car was ok to drive home. Argh!

On Monday I found out work had dried up on the architectural draughting front and it was time to find a new job. So I've spent the last couple of days handing out my CV all over town. Fingers crossed for good news soon!

Well now I've got the crappy bit out of the way. But there is always a silver lining! (a 'sparkley' lining??) I've been working on my packaging & flavour ideas for my cupcakes. I've been getting a few orders lately so that's been great & I've been getting a bit of pocket money! Today I had a meeting with a guy from the council to talk about what I need to do if I sell cupcakes at markets. He was really friendly and helpful so I'm feeling excited about what I could get up to there! You can check out all my flavour ideas on my Facebook page for Sequin Corner!

I hope you have all had a great week so far, hopefully by next week I will have heard back from a few places about jobs and will possibly have some interviews lined up. Positive thinking is the way to go!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Life Lately // A Concert, Cupcakes & a Vege Shed

I had great fun up in Cromwell for the Winery Tour concert! It rained on us the whole way as we travelled up there, then as we arrived the sun came out and the temperature zoomed up a few degrees! I had a great night eating some AMAZING pizza being sold at the venue plus gluten free cupcakes I made & took with me, drinking a couple of glasses of Olssens Winery Pinot Gris and dancing on my picnic blanket to Gin Wigmore. Man she is amazing live!

On the way home today we stopped in Arrowtown for a pie from the Bakery (they make awesome gourmet pies!) and I dragged my friend to the Remarkables Sweet Shop so I could get some fudge (I convinced her to buy some too!!) Can you see all my trips end up revolving around food?

We also stopped at the Vege Shed in the Athol Valley. The woman running the place was so lovely! I found a super cute cupcake-related necklace which her daughter had made and I had to buy it. She then came and sat outside with me and my friends and we had a great chat about cupcakes, blueberries and her business. She was really supportive of my little cake business and gave me some great tips! It’s so nice meeting people who get all excited about my business idea and offer up tips from their own experience. After we left my brain was going a hundred miles an hour thinking of what my next step could be!

**Photos all from the Vege Shed because I was having too much fun to remember to take photos at other points of the trip...

Today is also February 22nd here in New Zealand – a year ago today at 12:51pm there was a devastating earthquake in Christchurch, a city 5 hours away from my hometown of Dunedin. 185 people died and the city is still receiving aftershocks and dealing with the cleanup. Although my friends and I missed 12:51pm by 10 minutes – we had our own little 1 minute of silence at 1pm in the car between Arrowtown & Queenstown to remember those who were lost. Kia Kaha Christchurch – Stand strong. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Outfit Post // Rock 'n' Roll & Concert Ready

Black Cut-out Dress - Jay Jays, Hat - Kmart, Leather Mocs - Windsor Secondhand Store

I’ve been itching to get out of the house at lunch times lately; I’ve been suffering a bit of cabin fever! I’ve been visiting my favourite op shops in Invercargill and picking up some pretty sweet bargains.

Black Cut-out Dress - Jay Jays, Purple Check Scarf - Golden Centre Mall, 
 Leather Mocs - Windsor Secondhand Store

My first find was the jacket below – I managed to time it right as the shop assistant told me it had just been put on the rack that morning. I thought I got a pretty good deal with it only being $18 and in great condition.

My next find was these leather moccasins – I found them in a little shop in Windsor, sitting in the corner of a window display. $6 – and great condition, plus they’re Pulp shoes (carried by Hannahs) so they’re fairly good quality!

Jacket - Savemart, Black cut-out Dress - Jay Jays, Leopard Print Tights - Kmart, Leather Mocs - Windsor Secondhand Store

So this post involves a few slightly different outfits – these are the items I’m packing to take to Cromwell with me tomorrow (when I go to the winery concert) When I pack for a weekend away, I always have a few neutral items which I can mix & match, plus a few coloured pieces. My neutrals are always grey & black, that’s what I have lots of and that’s what I feel comfortable wearing. I usually pick one other colour usually blue, purple or red. This time I’m going with purple with the scarf & a purple cardigan (which I forgot to photograph!) Whenever I go away I always have a “travelling” outfit, it usually always involves tights, a long t-shirt and floaty cardigan that doubles as a blanket, plus a triangle scarf if it’s cold!

Grey Cardigan - Supre, Black T-shirt - Postie +, Leopard Print Tights - Kmart, Leather Mocs - Windsor Secondhand Store

What I wear to the concert will depend on the weather (the forecast is rain at the moment!) but I’d love to wear the dress and hat and add the tights, scarf & jacket if it gets colder later on. Otherwise it will most likely be tights, cardigan and a rain jacket! (Hopefully not!)

 Here is me being pigeon-toed - I actually stand  like this sometimes, I don't even realise I'm doing it!

I’m looking forward to a little mid-week holiday, listening to some good music and possibly enjoying some sunshine!

Do you have any exciting plans this week? What concerts have you been to lately? 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Recipe Post // Cupcakes in a Jar

Next Tuesday evening I’m going to the Winery Tour concert being held in Cromwell – my favourite place in Central Otago. I’m so excited! Gin Wigmore is performing, I’ve liked her music for quite a while so I’m keen to see what she’s like live.

You aren’t able to take alcohol or drinks (except sealed water bottles I think) into the grounds, but you can take food. So I thought it would be a cool idea to take along a picnic! I’ve been wanting to try out the “cupcake in a jar” thing for a while and this is the perfect excuse.

I had an order of cupcakes due today for a customer (my business is Sequin Corner – come visit my Facebook page!) and I had some leftover, so I made a trial run. My favourite flavour is coffee and I just so happened to have a bottle of Kahlua lying around in the cupboard so I thought I’d make a yummy sauce to go with my cupcakes.

You will need;

A cupcake sized jar
Frosting of your choice
Baked cupcakes of your choice
Sauce of your choice

Coffee Frosting

115g Butter, softened
500g Icing Sugar
1 t Vanilla
60ml Instant Coffee (1/2 t coffee mixed with a dash of hot water, then made up to 60ml with cold water)
2 t Ground Coffee

Using an electric mixer – combine the butter, vanilla, coffee & half the icing sugar until creamy. Add the remaining icing sugar & beat until combined. Use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle.

**I found this recipe somewhere on the internet, but I can’t remember where sorry!

Kahula Sauce

125g Butter
1 C Castor Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 C Kahlua
1 t Cream

Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. Add the sugar & egg & whisk to combine. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth & creamy and all the sugar is melted. Add in the Kahlua & cream & whisk to combine. Pour into a jug or bowl until ready for serving.

**Recipe from Simply Recipes – I altered the amount of Kahlua. 

1.    Take cupcake paper off, trim to fit in jar, & chop in 1/2. Place the cupcake 1/2 in the jar & pipe a layer of frosting over.
2.    Drizzle over a layer of the sauce. Repeat from the start – cake, frosting, sauce.
3.    I added 1 more cupcake half (my jar is tall) a layer of frosting & a final drizzle of sauce.
4.    The finished “Cupcake in a Jar”

These are so yummy! (and quite sweet!) Next time I might try layering one with custard and fruit, possibly to take to the concert. You could easily swap out the frosting and sauce I used and replace them with something else – ganache & caramel sauce, custard & pureed apples with cinnamon, raspberry puree & cream...the opportunities are endless! 

I made mine pretty by covering the tops with a paper doily tied on with string & threading a cake fork through the bit where you open the jar (I love my little fork with the piggy on it above!) you could just as easily attach a little plastic spoon or fork with some string or ribbon.  

Have you tried making cupcakes in a jar before? Or pies? I think it's a great picnic idea! Hope you all have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Outfit Post // My Grandmas Garden

Lately I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. As in I just haven’t been getting dressed. Yep, workin’ in my pj’s all day! It really wasn’t helping my motivation levels and I was feeling a bit down.

 Purple Dress - Recycle Boutique, Black Camisole - Stolen from Mum, 
 Girl Guides Belt - Shop on Taieri,  Black & silver Glitter Heels - Warehouse, but glitter DIY'd by me!

So when I headed to Dunedin the other weekend I made a quick visit to Recycle Boutique which has moved around the corner from its old location. I did a quick survey of the specials rack and found this dress for $4.50! Its amazing how a small purchase like that can lift your spirits.

I’ve worn it a few different ways since I got it – with tights & boots, by itself with a camisole underneath & sandals and with a lace body suit peaking out and a cardigan. I love the little coloured flowers – they remind me of my Grandmas garden in spring. Thankfully this little dress has kick-started my love affair with my wardrobe again!

Oh - I can't forget the shoes. These used to be $60 at the Warehouse a few months ago. I held out for soooo long - and the other week they were marked down to $7.50!!!! They had a wood-grain bottom part on them, which I couldn't decide if I liked it or not, so I decided to glitter DIY (see my tutorial here!) them instead. They are my new favourite shoes - They're so easy to walk in with the super chunky heel! I can't wait to wear them out, but for the moment I'll just have to keep doing my housework while wearing them...

I hope you have all had a good week. We had a long weekend here with Waitangi Day, so I went to visit some friends and their new chocolate lab puppy called Gus – Hershey and him spent all afternoon playing together while us humans ate blueberries and had a BBQ on the deck. My Mum and Sister also came down from Dunedin for a visit and brought my little nephew with them, so we had a look around the shops and had a coffee date at a local pub. It was a nice weekend!

What have you been up to lately? Has it been sunny and warm where you are or have you been playing in the snow? I kinda hope we’ll get a decent dump of snow here this winter!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Life Lately // New Years Eve Hens Party

I thought I would finally post these! I just got them off one of the girls who had her camera at the hen’s night we had for my friend on New Years Eve. 

Yummy strawberry cupcakes & carrot cake cupcakes both with cream cheesse icing

The day before was one of the Bridesmaids birthdays (my long-time friend!) so I made a double batch of strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese icing and we had half for her birthday dinner and half for the hens night. I also made some carrot cake cupcakes as I knew the Bride liked carrot cake!

The Brides Sister-in-Law & me! (I'm wearing my lighthouse dress I made)

The completed bendy wax-man

We spent the afternoon playing games, including 20 questions about the Groom the Bride had to answer & making a man out of this bendy wax stuff. We all had to make a limb and an accessory for him. He looked pretty good when the Bride stuck him all together!

 All the girls at dinner

After the games and snacking on some yummy fruit & vege platters, we headed off to a local restaurant – Salt – for dinner. I played sober driver so the other girls could have a drink. After a tasty meal we drove back to where we are staying, had a couple of drinks and cupcakes for dessert and got ready to go to town for the fireworks at midnight! I wore my black sparkley lace dress I had made & my comfortable wedges which made walking so much easier!

Me with my halo at a jaunty angle & my prize from pass the parcel!
Group photo before we left for town

We only ended up staying in town for an hour or so, before the Brides brothers gave us a lift back to where we were staying – pretty cool!

The next day I drove one of the girls to the airport to catch her flight and then headed back to the house where we devoured the rest of the cupcakes & lay around watching movies until late afternoon.

It was a fun weekend! I love the group photos of all of us, we were so busy giggling because it was windy and our dresses were going everywhere!