Posts categorized "just chatting"

100% hands on fun food photography & styling workshop with Sneh Roy

A couple of weeks back I returned to Cook Republic HQ for another workshop with Sneh Roy. This time it was a practical food styling and photography workshop directed by Sneh. (You can read about my first Cook Republic workshop HERE).

We started the morning constructing our own morning refreshment. We were presented with table of delicious fruits, nuts, granola and yoghurts that we styled and then photographed.

Fiona Carter food photography

Sneh discussed several food styling methods and we were encouraged to style and photograph each one. Styling with only one prop was interesting…

Continue reading "100% hands on fun food photography & styling workshop with Sneh Roy " »

rum balls recipe

Fiona Carter's rum balls collage blog

I have started many posts on this blog with "as a kid I loved making...."

Well today it's .... rum balls.

For many Christmas's I made rum balls, sweet and chocolatey rum balls flavoured with good old OP rum! They were made up of icing sugar, cocoa, copha, sultanas and rum. Made into little round balls and rolled in desiccated coconut. And I used to consume them in the masses (even though I was under legal drinking age for most of the years I made them). 

Forward many, many.... many years...

This year I decided to re-invent the rum balls. Of recent years, I've attempted to reduce the amount of sugar (fructose) that we consume, so the thought of making my old rum balls was not an option.

Fiona Carter's rum balls

I started looking around for recipes, experimented with my own ideas, and three attempts later, I came up with these. Now I know they are not completely "sugar-free" with the raisins and rum, but they are a whole lot healthier than my old childhood version!

Here's the recipe.


  • 1 cup raisins (or sultanas if you prefer)
  • 40ml rum
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 cup chia bran (I use The Chia Co chia bran)
  • 6-8 tablespoons raw cacao powder** (I use Power Super Foods raw cacao)
  • 10 tablespoons raw coconut oil (I use Niugini Organics coconut oil)
  • 4 tablespoons rice malt syrup (or to your taste)
  • 40mls rum (extra to the soaking rum above)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • zest from 1 orange
  • PLUS the rum soaked raisins
  • EXTRA coconut for rolling the rum balls in

[** 6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder gives a nice chocolatey flavour, the 8 tablespoons of cacao powder gives a richer dark chocolate flavoured rum ball. The choice is yours, experiment with the amounts.]


Soak the sultanas in the 40mls of rum for at least 24 hours. The raisins will plump up and most of the rum will be absorbed by the raisins.

[24 hours later]

Place the dry ingredients (almond meal, chia bran, cacao powder, desicated coconut) into a food processor. Blend until ingredients look combined.

Add rice malt syrup and orange zest, then rum, then the coconut oil. If the coconut oil is soft, you won't need to melt it.

Put the mixture into a bowl and mix through the rum soaked raisins. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge to cool.

The mixture may separate a little. This is the reason I put it in the fridge to cool. You will find the coconut oil may set around the mixture. Just stir this through again before you start rolling.

Roll into small balls. I used a 1/2 tablespoon to measure the balls out. Roll the balls around in a bowl of desiccated coconut. You will find them quite sticky, the heat of your hands will melt the coconut oil a bit, but this helps the desiccated coconut to stick to your rum balls.

Fiona Carter's rum balls 2

Place them into the freezer until you are ready to eat them or package them up to give them away.

In the Australian summer, they need to be kept in the fridge at least. I quite like eating them from the freezer :)

Hope you enjoy them... I'm now working on a Kahlua and walnut truffle/ball recipe. I will be back if they are successful with another recipe.

Thanks for visiting.


Fiona x

Fiona Carter's rum balls collage blog

a dress for phoebe

Every now and again I remind my girls that I can sew. I have actually been sewing for a very long time. I made many of their little dresses and clothes when they were younger, have made the concert costumes for their pre-school and school concerts and musicals, and even further back... made my clothes before these two girls were even born! These days I tend to sew "things" rather than clothes.

So, when my girls talk about buying a dress... describing the style... I say, you could make that (they both know how to sew themselves) or I can make that for you... my comments usually fall on deaf ears (accompanied with a roll of the eyes).

When Phoebe recently chatted about a simple dress she liked AND actually mentioned that I maybe could make it for her... I jumped at the chance. Then it dawned on me that it had probably been 10 years or more since I'd made her a dress (concert costumes not included).

The pressure was on... mess this up, and I'd probably not be asked again :)

She picked the dress pattern and the fabric. I made the dress and, thankfully, she's happy with it!

Here is the dress with Phoebe on their first outing.

Living on the crafty side of life blog

The fabric she picked was a lovely cotton quilting fabric, Suzani by Michelle Marvig for Charles Parsons

Living on the crafty side of life blog

The checked bias binding was used to edge the neckline and sleeves. 

Living on the crafty side of life blog

The pattern we used was a Very Easy Vogue Pattern #V8805.

Living on the crafty side of life blog

I'll leave you with one last shot of the new dress and it's owner. And yes, there has been an indication that I might be allowed to make another dress.

Living on the crafty side of life blog

Thanks for visiting.




ripple crochet blanket with ripplealong

It's not like I needed another crochet project, but when Mel Goodsell announced she was hosting a RIPPLE-ALONG... I just felt I needed to join in!

While I have been happily crocheting my african flowers, Mel had been posting pictures of her ripple blanket she's been crocheting on her blog and intasgram. It was gorgeous!

FEC Ripple Blanket

After signing up to Mel's "ripple-along", I had to choose the wool for my new project.

Last year (January 2012) I was holidaying on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. We had a few nights in Dunedan where I found a few crafty shops selling gorgeous New Zealand wool. I bought a few balls back with me, buying only one colour of each. These are the wools that I decided to use for my ripple blanket, it's going to be my New Zealand South Island inspired Ripple Blanket.

So here's my wool selection...

Random Dyed Tekapo 8 ply wool

FEC Tekapo wool

Colour "landscape" (shade #062) by Ashford.

Why I bought this wool: During another holiday on the South Island of New Zealand, we stayed a couple of nights at Lake Tekapo. It snowed while we were there, the first time my girls saw snow. The colours of the lake and the surrounding mountains was amazing, like the colours in this wool.

Merino Possum 8 ply wool

FEC Possum wool

Colour navy by Merino Possum

Why I bought this wool: Curiosity, to be honest. Possums are a protected animal here in Australia, they are a pest in New Zealand. Introduced from Australia a long time ago, they loved New Zealand (who wouldn't), and spread, and spread and became a pest. They are "harvested" for their fur. The fur is mixed with merino wool resulting in an incredibly soft wool.

Rare Earth 8 ply wool

Image 5

Colours "old snow", "champagne" and "camel" by The Rare Yarns Company

Why I bought these wools: The softness of these wools, they are beautifully soft being made from alpaca and merino.

Starting the ripple

Two days ago, during soccer training, I finally made a start. I'm using Lucy's pattern from the Attic24 blog. Lucy's instructions are very good, with lots of photos.

Image 1

I started with 199 chain stitches. The first row was the hardest and slowest. It got easier after that.

Image 2

I'm 14 rows into the blanket so far, and I fear I'm going to be running out of wool some time soon. I'm already researching how I can buy more of my wool... I might have to plan a shopping trip back to New Zealand to stock up :)

If you'd like to play along with the ripple-along, visit Mel's blog for details.

If you'd like some inpiration and ideas for a ripple blanket, I've been adding ripple blankets to my crochet board over at Pinterest.

Will be back soon to share my progress.


Fiona x

Online Crochet Class

welcome 2013


Here's wishing you a happy, healthy and creative 2013.

The Sydney new year's eve fireworks did not disappoint this year. We watched the 9 o'clock display and the midnight show from Lavender Bay.

Before the fireworks got underway, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the harbour. The night was clear and still, so perfect for fireworks. Lavender Bay (and the rest of Sydney Harbour) was filled with boats.


We had a great view of the fireworks from my parent's apartment...



Then there was the midnight display, which featured the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's always spectacular...


We are certainly very lucky to live in a beautiful city, and to see in a new year in such a spectacular way!

Last week we enjoyed some time away up at Hawks Nest. Just thought I'd share one of my favourite photos... Phoebe teaching Bella to "surf". Not sure how Bella would cope if a wave actually came her way, but she was still very cute sitting up on the board. 


I started a new crochet project while I was away... I'll be back very soon to show it here :)

'til next time, thanks for visiting, and enjoy your new breaks break!



merry christmas

I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe 2013.

Thanks for dropping by my blog in 2012. In 2013 I hope to share more ideas and crafty-ness with you.


Thank you to my customers for visiting and shopping at Ribbons Galore throughout 2012.

Ribbons Galore is now closed for a Christmas/summer break. The online store will remain open during our break and you can still place orders. Orders placed during this time will be packed and posted from Monday 21 January 2013.

2013 will see Ribbons Galore open with a brand new website. I've had the website and online store completely rebuilt with many new features and I look forward to sharing it with you when Ribbons Galore reopens later in January.


Fiona xx

sydney to dubbo {via bali}

It seems like a long, long time ago, but Sydney, Bali, Dubbo was our itinerary last school holidays.

The first week of the school holidays was spent in beautiful Bali. It had been almost 18 years since my last visit (that was on our honeymoon). Bali had changed, alot, but it was still beautiful.

I have many of our photos in a flickr album.


One special group of photos I've placed in a COLOURS OF BALI album. I created this little collection of photos because Bali is so vibrant, I wanted to capture some of the colour that surrounds you there.

A few special things I'd love to mention about our holiday:

Our accommodation in Canggu, SABA VILLAS. Absolutely stunning. We stayed in a two bedroom villa, with our own pool. Total relaxation. I wanted to pick this place up and bring it home to our little plot of land in Sydney! Below is our pool and villa at night, more photos of the villa can be found HERE.

Saba Villas, Canggu

Our accommodation in Ubud, KAJANE MUA VILLAS. A beautiful, beautiful place in the Ubud style. Again our villa was lovely with our own pool. Although the villa complex is on Monkey Forest Road, our two bedroom villa was right up the back of the property with rice paddies around us. This was the pool area of our villa, more photos of this villa can be found HERE.

our private pool at Kajane Mua villas, Ubud

The Bali Elephant Safari Park, out of Ubud, where we had the most marvellous morning feeding the elephants then having a ride through the park and forest. Here's Em with one of the baby elephants, more photos are HERE.

Bali Elephant Safari Park, Ubud, Bali

Kafe cafe, this was a great find amongst all the hustle and bustle of Ubud. Probably the best coffee we found in Bali. Delicious organic meals and juices.

Gaya Galato {part of the Gaya complex}. Oh, my goodness, I would travel back to Bali just to have this gelato again. The gelato at the bottom was Spiced Chocolate gelato, one of the best flavours of gelato I've ever tasted. This was well worth the short trip out of Ubud to taste this gelato. They also sell cookies and biscuits. These guys should write a cook book, cause I'd make every cookie they were selling! They do offer home delivery, not sure this extends to Sydney :-(

gelato from gaya gelato, ubud

Ubud markets, alot of fun, alot of interaction with the stall holders {and bargaining}. These markets are much better than those we found in Semenyak or Kuta.

On a slightly more serious note:

There was one slight emerency on our Bali holiday. During a visit to Monkey Forest in Ubud, I was bitten and scratched by one of the monkeys. Without going into many details of the following couple of days, I had to try to find two different rabbies vaccines which I needed to receive within a few days of the bite. Rabbies is a big problem in Bali at the moment and one of the vaccines required after a bite is very hard to find in Bali and is very expensive once you do find it. Anyway we did find the vaccines in an international clinic in Kuta and have continued to receive the rabbies vaccine back here in Australia (the course is given over 28 days). My arms were like pincushions during this treatment, but hopefully all will be well. I'm just writing about this to let others know. Monkey Forest is a big attraction in Ubud, would I rush back there next time... no way, the monkeys are cute but certainly not worth the trouble they caused.

We returned to Sydney from Bali, had 24 hours at home to un-pack, wash clothes, re-pack and leave for Dubbo.

We went to Dubbo for Phoebe. She was picked to play in the Far North Metro team at the Soccer NSW State Titles, which were being played at Dubbo.

We had a great week, Dubbo is a fantastic country town and we certainly enjoyed our week there. We did watch a lot of soccer, sitting on the sidelines. The girls on the team had a fun week together, and played some fantastic soccer. Their team came fourth overall.





While I was in Dubbo, I had a chance to meet up with Narelle, Neek and Leah one afternoon. It was so lovely to have a chat with these gorgeous ladies. We chatted for so long, the cafe closed around us, and the owners showed us the back gate exit, saying we were welcome to sit there as long as we liked. We did stay for quite a while longer chatting away....


Emily and I did visit the Dubbo Zoo one afternoon. One of the first areas we visited was this {not so little} baby hippo...


Then the gorgeous giraffes...


And we found some more baby animals...


One our way home we passed these beautiful fields of rape seed. We could see the fields coming from far away with the specatular colour...


We returned to Sydney exhausted, but happy, after a varied holiday. We probably needed another holiday to recover from this one, but it was straight back to work and school....

And that's our last holidays summed up. It's take me several weeks to finish this post, but it's finally done and published!

Thanks for visiting. Will be back very soon with some Ribbons Galore updates.



easter school holidays round-up

.... in photos.

I'll start with our own little cute Easter bunnies, here's Butterscotch:


and Bubbles:


I bought the girls these groovy "new polaroid-style" cameras for the holidays, they've had a great time taking lots of photos:


These cameras take business card sided polaroid photos. In a world of digital photography, I'd forgotten the joy of seeing your little photos come to life in a couple of minutes:


We love going away to Hawks Nest with these girls, and their mum :-) We've been friends since the older girls were in pre-school, and still love to get together for a few days away:


One night the girls wanted to create some sparkler art. Best $2.00 entertainment of the holidays. They created a few words, then made some shapes (next time I'll take my tripod away, would have made this activity a lot easier):


 And there were a few blooms left on my old frangipani tree up at Hawks Nest:


We went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, ate lots of chocolate easter eggs, caught up with family and friends... all the usual stuff that happens over Easter.

Now we're back into the maddess of school term time, not to wish time away, but bring on next holidays!

That's about all, thanks for visiting.


Fiona x

a new year

My first post for the new year. Happy 2010!

The house is quiet today, both girls have returned to school after our lovely holidays.

I've always kept a tradition of taking the girls photos on their first day of school. This year one of my "series" of photos is now complete. Phoebe started in Year 6 today, the last first day of primary school for her. So I can finally make one of these... Seven years of "First Days"


This will be my last year of having a primary school child. I'm certain it will go by way too quickly. I'm sure it will be a great year, and it will be a busy year with all the sport and other activities lined up.

And she is the girl School Captain... so very proud of her.

2010 badge


My darling Emily has started Year 9! No photos this morning, but she assured me I'll be allowed to take some this afternoon, so we'll see!

Hope 2010 is good to you all.


Fiona x

the evidence

I've been in denial for a little while now. But last weekend Paul took a photo of the girls with me while we were up at Katoomba. And this is the evidence I DIDN'T need.

Emily has finally caught up with me... she's the same height, perhaps even slightly taller.


Even Phoebe is on the case now, measuring herself against me, say it won't be long 'til I'm the shorty of the house.

I'm sure some money has exchanged hands between Emily and her dad to take this incriminating evidence.

Thanks guys!

Fiona x