Oh lovely decor8 readers, what a busy month September was! It’s Rincy again and I’m back with another Simple Times column for you. It’s so nice to see October start at a bit more calmer pace (hope the same for you too!). With Holly’s joyous news of having a baby boy fresh on my mind and no doubt millions of pieces of advice at the ready for her, I thought to sway away from the world of the internet and go straight to the little experts themselves to see what they love and what’s important. I asked a few friends and fellow bloggers to share in responses to some simple questions posed to their little ones about life, love and laughter. Here are their very dear responses which remind us all that the simple things are what we enjoyed as children – why not focus on being content as adults too?
A. Imen’s son Geoffrey
On what makes a good mommy/daddy: Being fun + funny
On what makes him laugh: (his dog) Teddy’s funny face and Mom’s scooby-doo laugh
On the obvious: “Why is it called “shampoo” mommy? Clearly there is no poo in it”
B. Holly Marder’s little Lola, age 2
Bilingual and learning but still making her mama melt with appreciative compliments: Oh, mama so pretty
C. Nathalie’s nephew Ethan, age 5
On what makes a good mommy/daddy: Being fit and exercising (!)
On what makes him laugh: tickles
D. Geraldine’s son Michael, age 7
On the best thing in the world right now: My family
On what makes a good mommy: A mommy that loves you, plays with you and is generous to you.
E. Bridgee’s children Nick and Charlie
On parenting style: They should always be funny and nice and when their kids are doing something wrong they should only be a little mad but still love them. Also, sometimes they need to say no!
Nick, on why people look at him when being silly in public places: Well mom, maybe because I am so handsome!
F. Lucy and Jessie (twins), age 6
On the important stuff: You can’t tell Santa or McDonalds what toy to give us!
G. Tadgh, age two.
On the best thing in the world right now: Yellow car
On what makes a good mommy and daddy: Mommy and daddy going out
If I could bottle up all the things I overhear at work on a daily basis as a pediatric registrar, I would. Children are undeniably astute and creatively inspiring– how do you all document your children/nephews/cousins/little ones moment’s of glory? I’d love if you’d share some quotes and stories here below! There really is nothing better or sweeter than a point of view from a little one’s mouth.
A huge and warm thank you to Pauline, Ruth, Nathalie, Bridgee, Imen, Holly M. and Geraldine for allowing me to share this with the world! And to sweet Holly Becker, we are so excited for your little muffin to enter this world– who undoubtedly will be gorgeously sweet, inspiring and talented with an unparalleled sense of design.
See you again in November with some Simple Times advice for Fall! – Rincy
Hi, it’s Jillian here with a delicious Country Apple Cake recipe for October’s Delicious Bites column. Have you ever been apple picking? Well I did for the first time this year at a little place not far from the Blue Mountains called Bilpin. I was up bright and early and was the first person at the farm so I could get the best of the apples. I picked some granny smiths, my favorite cooking apple and pink ladies, one of my favorite apples to eat. I merrily munched on the them during the long drive back home to Sydney and marveled at how great freshly picked apples really taste. Will you go apple picking this season? Where is your favorite spot?
I came home with my apples in tow and started to think of all the things that I could do with them. I love baking and thought about an apple pie or an apple crumble but decided to share with you one of my all time favorite apple cake recipes. I’ve been making this cake for years and it’s adapted from a recipe which first appeared long ago in the weekend paper. The end result is a cross between a cake and a pie and its both simple to make and best of all, delicious!
First make the filling from your favorite cooking apple as it needs time to cool. I spiced my apples with lemon and cinnamon but you can use whatever spices you like. A little bit of flour is needed to thicken the filling to stop the apple running everywhere when you cut it. If you have any pastry fears, put them aside because the pastry is made in a food processor and you don’t even need to roll out the dough. You just pat the dough into the tin.
Don’t be tempted to reduce the baking time even if the top of the cake looks cooked. Speaking from experience you’ll end up with a gooey half cooked base so just cover the top with a layer of baking paper to prevent it over-browning. The pastry firms up as it cools so give it plenty of time before unmoulding the cake. It’s delicious served with either whipped cream or ice cream or both if you prefer.
Here’s the recipe for you for COUNTRY APPLE CAKE – adapted from a recipe by Amanda Grimwade of the Edible Deli at Benalla, published in Good Weekend magazine.
8 large green apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2, 20 ml tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
2, 20 ml tbs flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Place the chopped apples and lemon juice in a pan over a medium heat.
Cover and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until the apples are just tender.
Take the pan off the heat and add the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir to combine then place to one side and allow the filling to cool completely.
2¼ cups self-raising flour
2/3 cup cornflour (corn starch)
1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
200 gm (7 oz) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
Extra milk and caster sugar
Icing sugar and cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly grease a 23cm/9 inch spring form tin and line the base of the tin with baking paper. Sift the self raising flour with the cornflour. Put the sifted flours, the sugar and the butter into the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. In a small bowl combine the eggs, the vanilla and the milk. With the food processor running, gradually pour in enough of the milk mixture and process until the mixture wraps around the blades. The mixture will be quite soft so using floured hands, press ? of the mixture into the base and up the sides of the tin. Spoon in the apple mixture, which won’t completely fill the tin. Fold over any overhang of pastry from the sides of the tin, then using floured hands, flatten the remaining mixture into a disc and cover the top of the cake. Don’t worry if there are a few holes as they’ll close over as the cake bakes. Brush the top of the cake with milk then sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar.
Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes at 180°C/350°F. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with a piece of grease proof paper. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before unmoulding. As this is a cross between a cake and a pie, the bottom crust will always be a little soft but the top crust will be lovely and crisp. When cool dust with icing sugar and serve with cream or ice cream.
I hope you enjoy the apple cake! I’ll be back next month with something special for Thanksgiving. See you all again next month! – Jillian
(text/photos: jillian leiboff)
Happy Monday everyone and welcome to a new week on decor8. I’m finishing up on the edits for my next book and working on the upcoming Blogging Your Way e-class, in addition to prepping the baby’s room and enjoying the fact that today I am officially SIX months pregnant, so I’m a bit bonkers right now! Though I’m a relatively happy bonkers so that’s okay I guess. But I do have some bad news…
With the start of my 6th month ALL of my nausea is back and oh my, it’s not too fun. Eeeeeek! This is such bad news because I thought I was over it and was ready to do SO MUCH to my home to prep for my baby boy. I had extreme nausea until week 18 (remember when I told you I was severely dehydrated and lost 20 lbs?!) and then poof! It was gone. Like a beautiful miracle. I felt like the happiest person alive. But now, only 6 weeks later, it’s back and I’m not so pleased at all. I’m trying so hard to stay positive and focused on the good things and to simply endure it with a smile but it is SO HARD. One thing that helps though is to focus on what I love in life – like decorating and being with my friends – and how much fun it can be to try new things at home. Which leads me to a DIY project that I want to share that I’m calling Fun Frames because really, these were a lot of fun to pull together.
I was feeling bored with having only a mirror above my gray wooden cabinet where I stash all of my fabrics and notions, so I thought I’d bring some pattern and color to the corner through frames and pieces of wallpaper by Abigail Ryan. I think this is a really cute look for a crafty space. Do you remember this post where I debuted her hand-illustrated wallpapers? Well I found a sweet spot for her patterns – inside of simple wooden frames that I painted Arsenic by Farrow & Ball. I’m a huge fan of Farrow & Ball paints, in fact I want to paint the baby’s room in one of their gray tones. They cover so well and the matte finish is gorgeous.
Here’s what I did:
Step one: I cleaned (soap and water) some frames that I had laying around that were basically collecting dust in my cabinet — and removed the glass and painted them in Arsenic. I used two coats to make them extra bright and pretty. I let them dry for a day.
Step two: I cut pieces of wallpaper by Abigail Ryan in Cosmo Margarita to fit the frame and taped each piece on the reverse side of the frame. I tried to center the pretty parts of the pattern – you may want to hold them up and mark with a pencil as I did to make sure you are showing the part of the pattern that you want to show.
Step three: Next, I cut some vintage illustrations from a botanicals book that was falling apart and added a few cutouts to the frames – one directly on the pattern in the larger frame and two tiny cut outs on the border of the smallest frame. I wanted to keep the theme of flowers for this look to work with the cosmo print on the papers and the green frames.
Step four: Marking the walls, I decided where to hang my frames and hung them – and I taped a pretty illo to the wall with some Liberty-patterned tape, also in a floral.
Step five: I decided to add a little vial to the frame border of the medium frame (lower right) that could hold a few drops of water so that I could display a flower – so I popped in a yellow tulip. The vial weighs so little and has stayed on all summer with only a tiny drop of blue tack (which should be in every decorator’s tool kit!).
Step six: I made a colorful flower arrangement, which is always a welcome and beautiful touch to every space. I made this one using an assortment of pretty things from the local flower shop that I gathered together that made me happy. Roses, craspedia (aka billy buttons), poppies, tulips, lime hydrangea and sweet peas are among the bunch.
Step seven: The final bit is to always stand back, admire, tweak and then admire again. I added some of my fabrics to the top since the cabinet is stuffed with them, a pair of old scissors from my grandmother and a birdy postcard from Emily. Barb gave me the most adorable ceramic white houses so I put them on the frames since they are chunky enough to double as shelves. Funny thing is, since I shot this – I’ve already completely changed up this nook (I am rotating things around every 3 months or so), but I still wanted you to see it because it’s such a sweet idea. This would work in so many rooms – including a craft room, baby’s room, kid’s room, etc.
I hope that you enjoyed my little DIY today. I will do more again soon, I love putting them together for you to show you how EASY it is to change up your little corners. Decorating should be fun. Also a big thanks to Leslie for being my model (she is holding the flowers above in her striped shirt). xo
(images: holly becker for decor8)