Easter Hat time

It’s that time of year when the annual Easter Hat Parade is imminent. This year I was determined to be a bit more organised, and I am happy to say I was!

Finding a suitable idea for a boy’s hat is difficult. There is no end to the pretty flowery hat ideas, but for some reason they are not particularly popular. Even Pinterest is awash with ideas for girls’ hats, however I have found some that give a little inspiration. You can see what I’ve found on my Easter board.

Before I show you this year’s hat, here’s a quick look at the last couple of hats we’ve created. I don’t have a picture of the hat we made in kindergarten. It did the job, but we’ve come a long way since then 🙂 It was a basic hat covered with blue tissue paper, decorated with coloured in pictures of Easter Eggs, and little chickens from the discount shop.

In first grade I was very pleased to come across the Angry Bird idea. I have pinned 2 red Angry Bird creations, both of which link to an eBay listing. We set about making our own, wrapping a red feather boa around a plastic red hat, and cutting the features from felt. It looked pretty good! And after holding on to it for 2 years, I recently sold it on our local Facebook Buy, Sell, Swap page. I hope the next owner enjoys wearing it in their hat parade next week!

Easter Angry Bird Hat - sawitdidit.wordpress

Easter Angry Bird hat base

Last year, second grade, Pokémon was (and still is) popular in our house. So a large Pikachu toy took pride of place on the hat. I made a basic crown base, sat Pikachu on the top, gave him some Easter bunny ears (luckily I found some in yellow!), and wrapped a green feather boa around the bottom.

Easter Pikachu hat (692x1024)

And now for this year – third grade. I was inspired by this dinosaur hat. ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ is flavour of the month here, so I thought we would be able to adapt the dinosaur idea to dragons. I picked up a brown hat and some green plastic eggs from the discount shop a week or so ago. There are plenty of dragon toys around here to use, and I cut the leaves off some fake flowers I had. Working out how to attach the dragons was the sticking point. A week’s worth of pondering…and today I thought we should try and make Toothless fly!

Easter hat beginning (688x1024)

I tried black and silver wire, and from afar the silver was less obvious. To keep Toothless stable I needed 3 anchor points. I was very liberal with the hot glue gun!

Important point – if you have children and need to create costumes, you need a hot glue gun! Mine is only small and was quite cheap. I picked up the glue sticks from the discount store. You will need a constant supply of these 😉

Just because I can, here are our two bunnies photobombing a hat shot

Easter hat bunny bombing (1024x688)

Then I placed the other two dragons we were using. Even though they are not very heavy, I needed to have them balanced so the hat would sit correctly. I distributed the leaves around the brim, and on top to hide Toothless’ supports. We quickly glittered up some plain eggs, and added these with the plain green ones.

Easter hat coming along

And here’s the finished product

Easter 'How To Train Your Dragon' hat - sawitdidit.wordpress

 The young wearer has declared it ‘epic’, and that’s good enough for me! I think it has a definite Easter feel, but is unique too. I’m reasonably sure we won’t see another hat quite like this one at the parade next week!

Since we have been in the Easter mood today, we also made our first batch of Hot Cross Buns for the year, and put up the wreath we made last year on our front door. This wreath is simply made from a wire coathanger that has been bent into a circle, wrapped with a white feather boa, and topped with more bunny ears.

Easter bunny ears door wreath - sawitdidit.wordpress.com

What are you making for Easter this year?

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Gourmet Apple Crumble

Last weekend it was a bit cool and rainy, so I decided to make Apple Crumble for my parents when they came to lunch on Sunday. Seeing as we are heading into Autumn, I’m sure this will be the menu a bit more regularly!

We have been enjoying all the summer fruits, so the few apples we’ve had have been sitting in the fridge waiting to be eaten. This used them all up at once, with a couple of pears thrown in for good luck. But you can use your own combination of fruit to make your gourmet version!

I make up a double batch of crumble mix and keep it in the freezer, so it’s ready to be used at a moment’s notice. I used the last of it though, so today I have had to make some more.

The recipe I use is (and I can’t remember where I originally found it):

1/4 cup plain flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
rub in 50grams butter

I also add in cinnamon to taste.

If you are like me, you’ll find rubbing butter into flour a tedious job. But crumble is such a deliciously comforting dessert that is great in cooler weather. That is why I make a double batch to keep in the freezer. The less often I have to rub butter the better!

Crumble mix - sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I throw it all in a labelled ziplock bag, then into the freezer it goes. And you know those crumby bits at the end of your cereal bag? Throw those in with your crumble mix as well 🙂

Crumble mix ready for the freezer - sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I don’t have a particular recipe for the apples. You peel them, you slice them, you throw them in a saucepan with a bit of liquid and a little sugar and cook until just tender. I usually add some pears as well, but you can add whatever you have. A can of peaches with crumble topping is so yum! For the liquid, water is sufficient but you could use juice. The zest of an orange or lemon will lift the flavour too. And you can’t forget a little spice: I always add cinnamon and many people add cloves too, but we leave those out.

For Christmas, my foodie sister gave us all a selection of her gourmet delights. Most I have already used (and asked for refills!), but I still had the jam sitting there. So for this batch of apples I added a couple of spoonsful of her delicious jam, and a little of her vanilla sugar. I haven’t put jam in stewed fruit before, but I was inspired by my friend Annabel’s recent blog post of different ways to use it.

Gourmet flavours

Unfortunately for you all, I don’t think these products we received are for sale to the general public, but she has plenty of other gourmet products available at http://www.mojos.com.au/shop/

gourmet apples

When your apples are just tender, throw them in your baking dish and top with the lovely crumble. Then it all goes in the oven for about half an hour on 160C, or until the crumble is, well, crumbly!

Gourmet apple crumble - sawitdidit.wordpress

Serve it with ice-cream, custard, or in our case, vanilla yoghurt.

So now I’m set for the next few dessert requests. Is crumble a favourite in your house?

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The best homemade household cleaner

If you are wanting to reduce the amount of chemicals used in your home, this all-purpose cleaner could be just what you’re looking for. If you are sick of all those products with strong, fake smells, this all-purpose cleaner could be for you. If you are sick of paying heaps of money for various cleaning products, this all-purpose cleaner really could be for you!

I found this recipe, like several others I have shared here and will no doubt continue to share, on the Simple Savings website. (You do need to be a member to access most of the great tips on the site.) It was contributed by a lady named Becky-Lee, whose mother was very ill – she was allergic to most cleaning products, and had an auto-immune disease, so it was a difficult situation.

This cleaner is often referred to as the ‘magic’ or ‘miracle’ cleaner on that site, and is very popular. Some people have found it is not so good on some surfaces such as polished or varnished wood. As with all new products, you should always test first in an inconspicuous spot.

I’ve been using it for years, with no problems. It is fantastic in the bathroom, and great for cleaning your kitchen benches. And makes your tiled floor come up looking lovely!

Homemade household cleaner. sawitdidit.wordpress.com

So, here’s what you need:

1 litre water
200ml white vinegar
40ml detergent
40ml eucalyptus oil
2 dessertspoons washing soda

Mix it all together and it’s ready!

I make it up in an empty 2 litre plastic milk or juice bottle, then dispense into smaller spray bottles. I have one spray bottle in the bathroom, and another for the kitchen.

It’s also important to note that the washing soda and vinegar will fizz up when added together. Do this bit first so it is in the bottom of your container and doesn’t fizz over the top! Swirl it around to dissolve the crystals, then add the rest of the ingredients 🙂

You can use whatever vinegar you have on hand, and a generic brand is perfectly fine. You’re probably better off having some cheap white vinegar in your cupboard so you don’t have to waste the gourmet white wine vinegar you use on your salad 😉 There are plenty of uses for it around the home that are not food related.

Washing soda can be found in the cleaning aisle of your supermarket, but you’ll probably have to look for it on the top or bottom shelves. I also use washing soda in my laundry liquid.

Eucalyptus oil is included for it’s cleaning and disinfecting qualities, but you could substitute Tea Tree oil, citrus, lavender or any other oil. You could add something just to make it smell delicious if you want. Or you could leave it out altogether. I alternate using Eucalyptus and Tea Tree oils when I make up a batch.

You can dilute this down even further and it still does a great job.

I add about 60ml to a bucket of warm water to mop my floors. It’s fine to slosh it around the tiles in the bathroom, but I am careful to squeeze my mop out until it just damp to use on my kitchen floating floor.

Some people have even used this as a pre-wash stain remover, but I haven’t tried that. I use this recipe.

I don’t like that chemical ‘I’ve just cleaned’ smell, particularly if you are doing a quick wipe over before visitors arrive. Makes it look like you only cleaned because you had people coming over. Which may well be true…but you don’t want to advertise that!

This cleaner just smells fresh and clean. And I like that 🙂

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