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

Ribbons Galore is offering 20% off Janea's World ribbons

Ribbons Galore Janea's World ribbon sale

These beautiful German ribbons are currently on sale at Ribbons Galore. They have been reduced by 20%, and if you purchase 25 metres or more of one design, you will receive 30% off. No coupon is needed, discounts will be automatically deducted during checkout. You can find the full range by clicking HERE.

Hope you can find something to finish off your latest crafty project.



aussie dish cloth swap

I recently signed up to Mel's [onecraftymumma] Aussie dish cloth swap. This is Mel's second swap that she has organised. Every one who joined (and there's 50 of us) has made four cotton dish cloths which could be either crocheted or knitted. As my relationship with knitting is not a good one, I have crocheted all four of my dish cloths.

I crocheted four different designs. Two dish cloths I made up as I went along, and two I used patterns found on the internet. I used one of my favourite yarns, Morris and Sons Avalon 8 ply cotton yarn.

Fiona Carter's aussie dish cloth swap

Here's the four dish cloths I made...

Dish cloth #1: I made this one up. It uses triple crochet stitches in a square shape, with a scallop edging. There are similar ones around on the internet, but I just started crocheting and kept going...

 Fiona Carter's crocheted dish cloth

Dish cloth #2: This is another Fiona creation. Mostly treble crochet stitches in a circle.

Fiona Carter's circle dish cloth

Dish cloth #3: I used the Flower Power dish cloth pattern on Ravelry. Very cute design will be making more of these.

FEC flower power dish cloth

Dish cloth #4: I used the ZigZag dish cloth pattern by Mellie Blossom. I really, really like this design. I'd love to make a rug using this zig zag design. I also added a simple edge to this dishcloth which wasn't on the original pattern.

FEC zig zag dish cloth

Once the dish cloths were finished, I made four tags to attach to each dish cloth. The tags have fabric fronts, with wool felt flowers. The back of each tag was cardboard with information about each dish cloth like, the yarn I used, the pattern and my name. The tags were finished with a little baker's twine from Ribbons Galore.

FEC dish cloth tags

The dish cloths have arrived safely at Mel's house. Make sure you visit Mel's blog, she's been writing about all the dish cloths she's received for the swap there.

I'll be back to show off the four dish cloths I receive in the swap soon.

Thanks for visiting...


Fiona x

Online Crochet Class

free double passes to the Better Homes and Gardens Live Sydney show

Better Homes and Gardens LIVE is coming to Sydney!

Sydney Showground

Friday 20 September – Sunday 22 September 2013

A Great Day Out For The Entire Family.

Australia’s favourite home magazine and television show is coming to life at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, from 20 – 22 September 2013 for Better Homes and Gardens LIVE.

Whether you are a renovator, foodie, DIY or craft lover, gardening or interiors addict, Better Homes and Gardens LIVE is the only place to go for all the latest products, advice and tips for your home.  Get inspired with live demonstrations and workshops from your favourite Better Homes and Gardens experts and shop for the latest gadgets and technology from more than 350 exhibitors at our one-stop home and garden product showcase.

Better Cooking

Fast Ed and Karen Martini will demonstrate their favourite recipes as well as some exciting new creations at the Better Cooking stage.

Fast Ed 1

Better Decorating and DIY

Rob Palmer will power up his toolkit at the Better Decorating and DIY stage and will inspire men and women to create great projects from the TV show at home whilst Tara Dennis will work her design magic on projects that tap into the latest trends in colour and interior design.

Tara Dennis 2

Better Craft & Skills Workshop & Make and Take Workshop

The Better Homes and Gardens magazine editors will be showcasing how to create amazing craft projects at the interactive Make and Take Workshop. And at the Better Craft & Skills workshop, discover the overwhelming satisfaction of creating something with your hands. 

Better Gardening and Pets

Dr Harry will share his incredible knowledge to help all pet owners and pet lovers to look after the furry, feathered or scaly member of the family at the Better Gardening and Pets stage.

Whether you are already a green thumb or a gardening novice, Australia’s eminent garden and landscaping gurus Graham Ross and Jason Hodges will be creating Australia’s most sought after gardens, whilst offering ample practical advice.

Jason Hodges 1

Plenty of Activities for the Kids!  Looking for things to do with the kids during the school holidays? Crafty kids will feel right at home at Better Homes and Gardens LIVE!  They’ll be spoilt for choice with face painting, balloon sculpting and sand art on offer.  And the little ones will love the petting zoo, getting hands-on with their favourite farmyard animals.

Make yourself at home at Better Homes and Gardens LIVE this September.

Visitor and Ticket Information

Venue:  Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park                       

When:  9am – 5pm, Friday 20 – Sunday 22 September, 2013

Who:  Johanna Griggs and the Better Homes and Gardens team: Tara Dennis, Fast Ed Halmagyi, Karen Martini, Dr Harry Cooper, Jason Hodges, Rob Palmer and Graham Ross.

Ticket Prices:

Buy Earlybird Tickets Online and Save at

Full priced tickets can be bought at the door of the event every day.

Standard Early Bird Ticket:  $15 (save $5 off the door price)

Standard Ticket on the Door:  $20

Concession Early Bird Ticket:  $10 (save $5 off the door price)        

Concession Ticket on the Door:  $15


Now, here's some exciting news..... 

I have 20 FREE double pass tickets to give away to the Sydney Better Homes and Gardens LIVE show. If you would like a double pass (that's two tickets) to this event, please send me an email (you can find the "email me" link in the top right column right here on this page). EDITED: ALL THE TICKETS HAVE BEEN GIVEN AWAY. THANKS FOR VISITING MY BLOG, AND I HOPE EVERYONE WHO RECEIVED TICKETS ENJOYS THE SHOW.

I look forward to hearing from you.



cake decorating with baby pom pom trim

The baby pom pom trim has been restocked at Ribbons Galore.


I received a question regarding the pom pom trim via the Ribbons Galore Facebook page.... could the baby pom pom trim be used on a cake board? As it happens, I have used this trim to decorate a cake board, so thought I'd show some pictures here.

My daughter wanted a blue marbled iced cake for her birthday last year.

Image 8

The cake board was edged with the white baby pom pom trim. I used royal icing, which I piped onto the edge, then stuck the pom pom trim to that. Once the royal icing was set (dried) the trim stayed in place during the party.

Image 5

The cake board I used was approximately 4mm thick, and there was a thin layer of fondant icing covering the board. The baby pom pom trim fitted neatly on the edge.

Here are a few more close up shots...

Image 6

Image 7

Quite often you will see ribbon used to edge the cake boards, but the baby pom pom trim gives a different look, and adds a little fun to the cake.

Thanks for visiting...




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.




13 years of school photos

My gorgeous girl came home with her school photo the other day.

While looking at it, it dawned on me that this would be the last school photo she brings home to us. She's in her last year of school... THERE WILL BE NO MORE SCHOOL PHOTOS of her.

So here's a little trip down memory lane....

EFC 13 years of school final

The photos were taken at a similar time each year, from Kindy up the top left corner to Year 12 down in the bottom right.

That's my gorgeous girl... 13 years of school photos.

Thanks for visiting

Fiona x

This collage was made using PicMonkey:

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

new crochet ripple blanket

I've taken a short break from my New Zealand wool ripple blanket to crochet a blanket for someone special. In preparation, I had bought cotton yarn in two colourways, one for a boy and one for a girl, waiting the news so I could make a start.... girl or boy, can you guess???? 

FEC ripple blanket web

I've used one of my favourite yarns [AGAIN], Morris and Sons Avalon cotton to make this one.

FEC ripple blanket 1 web

I've almost finished, only a few more rows left. Then I'll have to choose a simple edge to finish it off.

FEC ripple blanket 2 web

Here's the details of the yarn I have used...

Morris and Sons Avalon 8 ply cotton:

  • #4803 Moonstone (Off White)
  • #4834 Rose Quartz (Light Pink)
  • #4836 Carnelian (Rose Pink)
  • #4838 Spinel (Dark Pink/Red)

I'll be back shortly with a photo of the finished blanket.

Thanks for dropping by....


Fiona x


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and the winning pinner is....

Thank you to everyone who created their "Happy Birthday Ribbons Galore" pinboard. I've loved looking through the pinboards and seeing your favourite Ribbons Galore products. It's been a fun way to celebrate Ribbons Galore's 7th birthday.

So now onto the winning pinner...

RG Pinterest winner web

Congratulations Bec. Thanks for entering, you have won a $70.00 gift voucher to use in the Ribbons Galore store.

If you'd like to join Ribbons Galore on Pinterest, please visit HERE.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Easter break.


Fiona x

ribbons galore is 7 years young, and we're celebrating on Pinterest

RG happy birthday

March is Ribbons Galore's birthday month.

Seven years ago, I opened the virtual doors to a new little online store selling a small range of brightly coloured ribbons. Seven years on, I'm very happy to say, we're still here with a new Ribbons Galore website and over 500 products. I'd like to thank all my customers for their support during this time.

To celebrate our birthday, I've organised a little "pinning" fun sweepstake.

If you join in you could have the opportunity to win a $70.00 gift voucher to use in the Ribbons Galore store.

The sweepstake will be run over on Pinterest.

RG Pinterest

Here's what you have to do to enter the competition:

  1. Subscribe to the Ribbons Galore newsletter, (you can skip this step if you already subscribe).
  2. Create a Pinterest board with the name "Happy Birthday Ribbons Galore" (this is very important, as this is how I will be able to find your Pinterest board, and verify your entry).
  3. Pin 7 (seven) of your favourite products from the Ribbons Galore store. You can pin more if you'd like, but a minimum of 7 products are required.
  4. Include in EACH pin description the hashtags "#ribbonsgalore" and  "#ribbons".
  5. Send me a message just letting me know you've entered (so I have the contact details to  advise the winner), please do this via the CONTACT US page, or you can leave me a message here on this blog post.

The rules:

  • Anyone can enter. You will need to have an account with Pinterest to play along.
  • You have until next Wednesday to create your board. Competition closes on Wednesday 27 March 2013 at 7:00pm (Sydney time | Australian Eastern Summer time).
  • When the competition closes, all "Pinners" who have completed the steps above will be entered into the sweepstake and a name will be randomly drawn.
  • You will be contacted via email if you are the lucky winner of the $70.00 store voucher.

If you would like to see examples of a Pinterest board, I have created one HERE and HERE.

Have fun, and thanks for the last 7 years!

Cheers Fiona