A Pikey Bream

This is a Pikey bream (Acanthopagrus berda) I made for the little bear as a Christmas present. I have had the denim whales by Mevrouw Walvis and the fish Mimi Kirchner makes saved ever since I first saw their posts in mid 2011. At that time Grandad had only recently died and there were some clothes that I just couldn’t bear to part with or have them turned to into rags for the shed in particular were two pair of  corduroy trousers that he wore, which I’m sure were as old as me if not more. Grandad was also a very, very keen fisherman and the idea of making fish toys out of his old clothes for his great-grandchildren seemed like a very good idea. Of course these fish would have to be relatively anatomically correct as well, this is my family we’re talking about. I trawled the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website for pictures of fish that I knew Grandad had caught. I then turned them into line drawings and from there into pattern pieces.  As you can see in the bottom picture I lost a little height on the fish as with the help of Mum I had to redo the top to get the dorsal fin to fit correctly.


Pikey-bream-Acanthopagrus-berda Pikey-bream-Acanthopagrus-berda outlineIMG_1419 Helen's fish

And there we have it, one Pikey bream from 2d to 3d.


watched Happythankyoumoreplease the other week whilst on sick leave and whilst parts were weird, parts were sad and parts were darn funny. There was this one scene that just about summed up a part of me oh so very well. More so than I think I’ve ever summed it up myself.

Annie: So, what got you into photography?

Sam #2: Oh, I wouldn’t call it photography.

Annie: What would you call it?

Sam #2: I love taking pictures, I guess.

Annie: Okay. Well, why do you take pictures?

Sam #2: Umm.. I don’t know. When I see something I like looking at, I get to keeping looking at it.

That last line, right there. Yep. “When I see something I like looking at, I get to keep looking at it”. That’s why I take pictures. I like how something looks, or the way the light falls on an item. I take a picture and then I get to keep looking at it.

These are three such pictures.

Daffodils, driedBreadcrumbsWattle


A wreath of holly and red beads

I’ve been wondering for a couple of weeks if you were able to get holly from the florist at this time of year in Australia, I did a bit of googling but nothing conclusive came up. Last Saturday, I rang the local florist (Northside Flower Market) and asked if they were able to obtain holly at this time of the year. The lady on the other end, politely laughed and said they have buckets of it! This of course meant a happy Helen and a couple of hours later I was in the cold room carefully examining the holly bunches for which had branches that were not too woody (i.e suitably bendy) but also had well formed holly leaves. After some time, I found two bunches that fitted my criteria.

We then had this, yes I picked up some spruce bunches as well, mmmm spruce.

It was then over to Spotlight, which surprisingly was just about empty!!! I know on a Saturday afternoon … I didn’t even have to line up at the checkouts… Crazy. I picked up some steel rings (one which was 400mm in diameter and the other was 350mm) and some floral wire.

The holly then went into a bucket of water downstairs in the cool till last night when I decided it was time to get up close and personal with the holly (read, let’s get prickly). Apart from the prickles it was dead simple to make and probably only took about 30 minutes or so, I was listening to Nightlife and spent some time just listening. The interview with Katy Gallagher (ACT Chief Minister) was most interesting.

The progress shot, uploaded to Facebook.

I arranged the branches round the ring and then went round wiring the branches on, using about three pieces of floral wire per holly branch and then used more wire to make a hanger that is is the same style as on the back of picture frame. I then wrapped a length of red bead garland round the 350mm ring and hung it behind the holly wreath so it “sort of resembles” holly berries.

The final product, hanging above the plates over the stair well. Do you see the the mini candle wreath on the Royal Doulton Rustic England quatrefoil bowl? The plates do not escape Christmas 🙂

Holly Wreath

Biscuits for Super Hornets and biscuits for the Queen

We had a few big events happen in Brisbane/SEQ the other week. There was the arrival of four new Super Hornets which gave us a flyover of 20 Super Hornets to celebrate and then the Queen cruised down our river as well. I busted out some biscuits to help celebrate each occasion.

The recipe that I use comes from here, I use recipe number two. I’ve never added the almond extract through. Icing is just plain old royal icing.

Super Hornets
I’ve made biscuits for the occasion of new Super Hornets arriving before and well with a flyover happening I just had to make some more.

We were granted access to our roof to watch the flyover and it was quite a sight to see those planes in formation overhead.
20 F/A 18-F Super Hornets in the sky

The Queen
Crown Bicuits for the Queen (I had bought the crown cutter planning on making biscuits for the wedding but didn’t get round to it)
Crown Biscuits

Waiting for a glimpse
Waiting for the Queen

There she is, I do wish that I had gone down to South Bank to see her in “person” but that will have to wait for “next time”.
The Queeen

I’m not sure which occasion I’ll next make biscuits like this for but Christmas is near…
You also may notice that I’ve changed the colour scheme to feel more summery and updated some pictures in the header.

Strawberry Jam, Dec 2010, Made by Helen

I made Strawberry Jam in December which I gave as part of my Christmas boxes. I finally got round to taking a photo of one of the jars! The felt topper changed between jars depending on what I had at hand but they were all tied up twine and finished with jingle bells.

Christmas is near

Well, I’m sitting at my Mum’s house as I type this as in a few hours we’ll be heading to the airport to go to NZ for 10 days to hang out with my Aunt and her family. It’s funny, at work people have been asking why I’m going to NZ for Christmas to which I reply I have family there and the response is always the same or similar “Helen, you have family everywhere” (in matter of fact not really, just Iceland, London, NZ and Tassie but it does seem like everywhere).

All my baking and creating has now come to an end for a year as I handed out presents and parcels to friends and co-workers over the last few days.

All the staff in my section received a little goodie bag, which consisted of 2 Christmas Tree sugar cookies, 1 Lebkuchen Man and 2 little chocolates.

The front.
Biscuit parcels for co-workers

The back.
Biscuit parcels for co-workers

My girls all received a double stack of decadent goodies. Which was filled with a jar of my Strawberry Jam (which reminds me I must take a photo of one of my jars – they looked so pretty), sugar cookies, vanilla rings, rum balls, sunshine/apricot balls, 3 types of nut brittle (hazelnut, peanut and almond), loftkökur and lebkuchen. That also reminds me, I’ll have to take a picture of of what the little bags inside the boxes look like -that will have to happen next year.

The boxes.
Boxes of baked goodness tied up with twineBoxes of baked goodness tied up with twineBoxes of baked goodness tied up with twine

oh so pretty. They are all tied up with bakers twine from Bespoke Letterpress. To continue in my theme of using my Figgjo Flint Lotte collection to hold assorted bits and pieces, here is what I am using as a dispenser for my twine – a milk jug. 🙂 At work I have a butter dish holding my staple remover, paper clips, white-out etc, at home I have a soufflé dish that holds my jewellery tree, a jam container that holds teabags, a little serving skillet that holds a candle and coins etc etc.

A very nice twine dispenser

I leave you with two pictures from the “Hard Crack Factory”
Welcome to the Hard Crack Factory

Hazelnut Brittle

mmm brittle.