As a print designer I am really interested in the process of printing. Over the summer I have been experimenting with block and stencil printing. I had some nice natural linen fabric which I used to print on.
I made triangle printing blocks from wine corks with thick cardboard cutouts stuck on the end. They only lasted one printing session. It was useful to put the ink on a sponge then dab the printing block on the sponge to ink it up.

Clear plastic sheets are perfect for stencils, you can wash them and reuse them. The ink was applied with a sponge.

I also screen printed some animals. Below are all my experiments.

What to do with all these swatches????? My lovely friend Annemaree has just started her own business anne & peg. So I decided to comission her to create large pillows with the swatches for our bed. Which she did beautifully.

Thanks anne & peg x

pork and corriander dumplings

Everyone loves dumplings don't they? We sure do, and regularly go to try out local dumpling places our favourites being Grand Habour for Yum Cha, and Barilla Dumpling on Dominion Rd for cheap eats - it's so bustling with energy. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

I grew up with my Grandad and Mum making huge batches wontons to deepfry or make soup with, they are still the best I've ever eaten. I've made wontons before but couldn't master the fold. I find dumplings however are really easy to make, and cook in a simple bamboo steamer.

500g pork mince
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 teaspoons fined grated ginger
4 spring onions finely sliced
fresh corriander - a big handful shredded
30 x dumpling wrappers

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
2. Take one dumpling wrapper and cup it your hand, fill with 2 teaspoons of pork filling. 
3. Brush edges with water and pinch to seal along top edge.
4. Steam in a bamboo steamer over a pot with quarter fill with boiling water for approx 5 mins.

Makes 30 dumplings

I got my steamter at Wah Lee's. I think I need to go get a bigger one though.
Moo loves them!

DIY : glittery feather clip

As you may know I also do DIY craft projects for American children's fashion blog Babiekins. I had this idea is for Babiekins, but I really love it and plan to wear it myself, so thought I would share it with you.

You will need:

5 feathers
craft glue
hot glue gun

1. First cut your feather down to size, mine were 5cm long.

2. Spread craft glue on the end of the feather.
3. Dip the glued end of the feather in the glitter.

4. Repeat for all five feathers.
5. Use the hot glue gun to attach the feathers to the clip.


DIY : tealight lanterns


While researching decorations for my brothers wedding recently I came up with the idea of making our own tealight lanterns. I was inspired by an earlier Mima + Moo post of snowflake window markers as the couple were coming from the snow in Canada it seemed a perfect little symbolic deco to go on the lanterns.

white tissue paper 
pva glue

Make little snowflakes using only 4-5cm squares of tissue paper. Stick snowflakes  to jars with little dots of glue, don't use alot as the glue turns the tissue clear. Use 3-4 snowflakes per jar depending on the size of your jar.

Place tealights in jars, using a little dot of glue to secure them so they stay in place. Tie string around the lip of the jars if you wish to hang them. 

A pretty great way to up-cycle old jars.

The night before the wedding we had the bridesmaids and friends sitting around the kitchen table cutting out snowflakes. We did jars of all sizes for the wedding some for on the tables, others strung up in the trees and placed around the fishpond.

around my house : five


Over our dining table we have a very interesting light fitting, Tolomeo Off Center Suspension Light. It was designed in the 1980's by an Italian designer Michele De Lucchi. We inherated it when we brought our house. I really love it even though it isn't something I would choose, and it's movability is so useful. However I didn't like the light shade on it. When we first moved in I covered it, but not very well, I then stared the hunt to find something else. I didn't have much luck, everything I liked had to be wired in. Then I remembered Australian DIY designer Tamara Maynes Quilt Light
For $20 I downloaded her easy to use instructions. I customised the shade to work for us. My first attempt wasn't quite right, I wanted everything to line up. So I made a second, this was the one!
She suggests using alsorts of materials to make it including leather and heavy felt, both of which I really love the idea of and may try in the future. But for now used cardboard and painted it.

We are happy.

a picnic dinner

Yesterday being Waitangi Day in New Zealand it was a public holiday. We had a very quite day with Moo playing at her friends house most of the day.
So we thought we'd make the most of the sun when she got home and have a picnic dinner down at the beach. I packed the following - Frijoles Negros (black beans), corn chips, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, BBQ sweetcorn & lemon, fresh limes and some Six Barrel Soda - what a feast for a picnic! 
Mima's mummy gave me these neat stacking metal bowls which are perfect for the warm picnic dishes.
Six Barrel Soda Raspberry and Lemon topped up with soda water was a delicious drink to go with our meal. 

I make these Frijoles Negros - Mexican black beans in big batches several times a year. I can fill 4-5 takeaway containers with approx 1 cup each and freeze until needed. I have made an addition for the nacho's.

Black Beans - My nacho addition 
1 garlic clove
2 tomatoes diced
1 cup of the black beans 
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 chargrilled capsicums, peeled deseeded and sliced
sea salt and black pepper

Gently fry the garlic in a little olive oil for a minute, add tomatoes and cook for another minute or so until softened. Add black beans, spices and capsicums, stir well and bring to boil. Then turn down heat to simmer for 15-20 mins. Squish a few beans and the liquid should thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 3 - serve with corn chips, guacamole, sour cream and grated cheese. 

I love BBQ sweetcorn but I had never tried BBQ lemon until recently when were staying with friends in Hawkes Bay, I liked it so much I'm sharing it with you!

BBQ Sweetcorn & Lemon
2 sweet corn cobs - husks on soaked in water for half an hour
1 lemon 

Barbeque on the grill side for 15-20mins until blacked on all sides a little. Watch it as it can catch fire. Peel corn and slice lemon into segements, to serve garnish with finely sliced, red chilli, spring onion and a handful of corriander.

Serves 2-3

DIY : pencil holder

I have been making these pencil holders for years. They are so easy, cheap and I love the recycled aspect of them too. You can really personalise them with the artwork you use, over the years I have tried drawings, photographs, patterns, its really up to you.

You will need:
tin can, empty, clean, with one end removed and the edge smoothed
artwork to cover can 
double sided tape
decorative washi tape

1. Measure the height (if your can has a lip, do not include this in the measurement) and circumference of your can, add 2cm to the circumference and this is the size the artwork needs to be. Cut it out.

2. On the back of the artwork, place double sided tape along both of the short edges.

3. Remove the tape from one of these edges and attach the artwork to the can.

4. Firmly roll the artwork around the can and use the double sided tape to attach the other end.
5. Place half the width of the washi tape at the top of the can, stick it on around the circumference of the can. Then fold the other half down and stick it to the inside of the can.