Delicious and easy Christmas cookies.

As Christmas approaches, and the weather in Melbourne cools (it was 41 C, or 106 F last week!), it is time to start baking the cookies. I have put together a list of quick and easy Christmas cookies that we will be baking and giving away as gifts. I have not included any recipes that call for processed ingredients (like cake mix). Click on each of the photos to link to the recipe !

Easy sugar cookies.

Eloise's Easy Sugar Cookies. Photo by Delicious as it Looks

Adorable gingerbread cookies.

The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies. Photo by louisapont

Linzer cookies.

Peppermint meringues.

Peppermint Meringues recipe

Have a delicious holiday season! A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

Sew cute. Stylish kids’ clothes on a budget. #1

I never knew how to sew. But when my daughter was born, something snapped and I bought a sewing machine. Suddenly, I was sewing baby clothes like a woman possessed. Most of the clothes turned out very well, even if the seams were a bit crooked at times. Unfortunately, babies grow so quickly, that she was able to wear each item only a few times. So, I thought I would preserve the memories here, and also share the sources for some of the patterns that I really liked.

I searched for most of my patterns online. Some were free, some were not. And once I became comfortable with sewing, I even created some myself. Here is one of my first blouses. This is called the Magic Pocket Blouse, and I got it from Mani Mina online. I think it turned out pretty cute with a polka-dotted pink circle pocket against a pink, blue and red flowered jersey fabric.  I am completely a novice at sewing, and this was not difficult at all.

pocket blouse

Another pattern that I absolutely loved, was a reversible pinafore with bloomers. The pinafore was soooo easy that it was nearly impossible to make any mistakes. And since it is reversible, so you get two outfits from one. I made several of these, and gave some away as gifts. You can see the reverse pattern on the middle and third photos below.

pinafore stripes pinafore owls own pinafore other side

The pattern for the pinafore is from Sew Sweet Patterns. It is for both the pinafore and matching bloomers. In one of the outfits I added an elastic band around the leg, and in the other a normal hem.

Please check back for more patterns and crafts. Happy sewing!

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

How to… Make teapot birthday invitations.

For my daughter’s birthday this year, the theme was “A secret garden.” We handmade these cute invitations together. It was a perfect activity to keep her busy on rainy days. These are much cheaper (and cuter) to make than buying expensive party invitations. Plus, you can personalize them anyway you want. Here is a brief tutorial for how to make these yourself.

birthday invites 3

Materials:

  • scrapbook paper
  • cardstock paper for the back of the invitations
  • mod podge
  • hot glue gun
  • decorations. We used wooden buttons for the teapot lids, grosgrain ribbon, ric-rac and paper cutout butterflies and flowers.

Instructions:

  • Trace the teapot template onto cardstock (for the back) and patterned scrapbook paper (for the front). Cut out your teapot. Make sure to cut on the dotted line for the front of the teapot, but not the back.
  • Print your invitation information into the rectangle template provided. This will be inserted inside the teapot when finished. Make sure to print it on heavier cardstock, so that it doesn’t bend when inserting.
  • With your hot glue gun glue just the outer corners of the back (card stock) onto the front of the teapot (scrapbook paper). Make sure to leave an opening for the inserted invitation.
  • When dry, decorate with your ribbons, brads, buttons, etc. Have fun personalizing your invitations! Your guests will love these.

Here is the template that we used for our invitations: teapot template.

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

How to…Make a stylish table lamp for your girl’s room.

A cute lamp on a budget.

I was inspired to make a cute table lamp for my daughter’s nursery after seeing many expensive lamps that just did not fit the decor ideas I had in mind. Then I saw this lamp from Land of Nod:

land of nod lamp

I thought it was cute, and it went with the garden theme for the room. But, they did not ship to Australia. So, I decided to make my own! I had a $10 lamp from Ikea for ages. I glued pink pom pom trim around the top of the lampshade. That was a start. Then i went shopping for a woven flower pot and fake tulips. I found bunches of silk tulips at one of the only artificial flower shops in Melbourne. The flowers and the pot cost around $30. The pot had a wooden base, so I sawed a small hole in the bottom to stick the lamp’s cord through. Then, I glued a small styrofoam block to the inside base and set the lamp on top and put the flowers, gently wedging the stems in between the styrofoam and the flowerpot. I didn’t glue the flowers in, so that I could remove them later for cleaning the dust off. And here is the result:

Zose Designs tulip lamp Zose Designs tulip lamp

I actually like my lamp more than the inspiration lamp!

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

A butterfly baby mobile.

I made this butterfly chandelier for my daughter’s nursery when she was just a baby. It was not that hard to make, so I thought I would share it as inspiration for DYI baby projects.  Inspired by the many gorgeous butterfly mobiles on the web (see this page), but not inspired by the prices of most, I decided to try my hand at making my own.

chendelier 2 chandelier 3Butterfly chandelier, DYI

Butterfly chandelier, DYI

I bought a needlepoint loop and covered it with a satin ribbon to hang from a pendant lamp in her room. This way the light shines through the butterflies and creates neat shadows. The rhinestone and crystal pendants also sparkle in the light. The butterflies are three layers of card stock paper glued together in the center, and the wings are fluffed, so it looks like the wings are fluttering. I threaded the butterflies onto elastic thread, and added sparkly gem beads throughout, secured with crimp beads at different heights. Each butterfly also has a glued faux pearl for added sweetness. We have had the chandelier in her room for three years now, and she still loves it!

I found a few tutorials online for making these yourself. Tutorial 1. Tutorial 2.

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love. Zose Designs.

Quick and easy cake pops

The usual recipe for cake pops that I have seen involves mixing cake crumbs with frosting and scooping it into balls. Not only does this seem like messy business, but it also looks like a lot of work without guaranteed results. I always found this process to be daunting and would even roll my eyes any time I would come across a recipe or the dozens of Facebook photos posted of kids’ parties by other mothers, thinking,  “Who has time for that?”

apple+cake+pops+-+scoop.jpg (JPEG Image, 1500 × 1200 pixels)

Plus, the thought of mixing cake with all that super sweet frosting made my lips curl. That was until my husband brought home a cake pop mold, and I decided to try it out for my daughter’s birthday party. It looks exactly like the photo below, and he bought it at Aldi. I was skeptical, but using the mold requires no frosting, and you can adjust the recipe to just about anything you want.

If using prepackaged cake mix, you need to add one extra egg, and half the liquid in the recipe. This makes the cake a bit heavier and it keeps its shape. Bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes, cool for 5, and you end up with perfectly formed cake balls.  To keep them secured on the stick, dip the stick in melted chocolate before sticking it in the ball, and then freeze them for a few minutes to set the chocolate. Then decorate away. Our final result looked like this:

DSC_0886

The kids just loved them!