Ombre Cake

Amelia's Aqua Ombre Cake

For months and months Amelia has been pinning Ombre Layer Cakes onto the board I gave her on my Pinterest account.  This school holidays we finally made one of these elaborate affairs together, with a little bit of icing help from her BF.  Of course it was Aqua.

Michaela in a tiny chef's hat

Even though both the girls had their birthdays back in August, we put off having a party until the school holidays, because at the time, life was so full of extra events.  Both girls had separate cooking parties which involved their guests shaping pizza dough and topping their own pizzas, and decorating biscuits with icing and lollies.  Everyone had a great time, and went home full of food, with leftovers to spare.  We have now had three of these parties (Rory had one a few years back) so we feel pretty confident at how to run them.Baby Arden at 6 months old

Apart from the parties, our school holidays were pretty quiet, as Michaela and I came down with a nasty virus that left us dizzy and vomiting, so we all spent some time sequestered at home, avoiding others.  Luckily the parties were planned for dates well clear of this illness, as was our visit from the adorable Arden (my nephew) and his parents.  At 6 months his cuteness has maximum effect!

Now we are just getting back into the swing of school for the last term of the year, and my last term with everyone at the SAME school.

Owl Cake

Rory's Owl Cake for his 10th birthday

On Tuesday we spent the day at Scienceworks to celebrate Rory’s 10th Birthday (which was actually last month).  We had a fantastic day, and then came back to our house with Rory’s friends, to partake in some cake before they went home.

Rory has had the instructions on how to assemble this cake bookmarked for months.  I think Luke and I, (but mainly Luke) did a pretty good job.

Rory and his Owl Birthday Cake - 10 years old

I took some really nice photos of Rory with his friends, (in spite of the artificial light).  I found that I needed to somehow get them laughing about something, because “cheese” doesn’t work anymore.

Rory with his 10th birthday Owl cake

Which is why I ended up with lots of photos where people are “talking” in amongst the smiling.  I wish I was better at jokes with unexpected punchlines.  I can never remember one when I need it.

Do you have a no-fail method for getting people to smile when you photograph them, (10 year old boys are hard work)?

Birthday Season

J Shirt for Jaide

We are in the midst of Birthday season, here in the Matching Pegs household, with 3 of our birthdays within 12 days.  Yesterday we celebrated Rory’s special day, with Michaela taking a couple of hours off, to help her friend Jaide celebrate her birthday.  Pictured above is the top I embellished for Jaide, with a simple needle turn applique.  Rory’s new mini-figures are checking it out.

Rory blows out 9 candles

Rory turned 9, and his cake was fantastic!

Plasticine Angry Birds

It was several days in the making – if you include the practice characters that the kids (and Luke) made with plasticine.

Angry Birds Cake

For those of you familiar with the game, it is easy to see that the cake featured “Angry Birds“, complete with evil green pigs (and boss pig with his moustache).

Making Angry Birds

The birds and pigs were made with solid icing, and it is safe to say that the experience of planning and making them was as important as the outcome – the look of the finished cake.

I was so impressed with the figures that the kids made, and the cake architecture that supported them, (constructed by Luke).  Oh and the cake was deee-lish!

Are you addicted to Angry Birds?

Little Menagerie Aprons

Much of the sewing-blog world is abuzz with preparations for International Quilt Market in Houston.  One day, I plan to get there, but in the meantime, I will have to live vicariously through others.

My friend Melly has gone there for the last few years. This year she has a collection of her fabric debuting there with Windham Fabrics; “Little Menagerie” By Melanie Hurlston of Melly and Me.

Due to the production schedule, shipping times and our location in Australia, Melly only received advance yardage of her fabric a few days ago, giving her very little time to whip up some samples for her booth, and the Windham booth.

I happily volunteered to make up some of my aprons (which I can almost make in my sleep) that can show off her fabric in the Windham booth, using my pattern that was just published in the current, “Kid’s Issue” of Australian Homespun.

I am really pleased with how they turned out (very cute, in my opinion) – and it was pretty cool to be sewing with fabric that is not yet available.

I used fabric that features Melly’s bees (and co-ordinates)

and some that features her Phoebe elephants (and co-ordinates).  We also had a little sewing bee on Friday and made curtains out of the white, confetti print you see above, to line the walls of her booth.  I am looking forward to seeing the photos of it, all set up – I know it will look amazing, bright and fun.  One day I will get to Houston, and taste the experience for myself!

So I think I have aprons out of my system for a while – I have to make something different next.

What would you make with Melly’s extremely cute fabric?

Mr. Monster Chef and the Wall of Malm

Mr. Monster Chef loves cooking in the great outdoors, in fact, he is a pretty outdoorsy kind of monster. When he is not cooking up gourmet Monster dishes, he loves camping, fishing and most of all, driving (as you can see by his choice of apron motif).

He even manages to entice Ms. Monster Chef outside occasionally, to join him in a rustic cook-fest.

I still have not managed to find out either Mr. or Ms. Monster Chef’s names, they just get so wrapped up in their cooking that they don’t talk much to me.

Here are the guesses we have made so far…Monty, Harvey, Hudson, Marvin or Morton, and Millie, Matilda, Marsha, Maddie, Petunia or Melly.  Which two names do you think are the most likely?

Meanwhile, sticking with the MMMMM alliteration,…….behold our new “Wall of Malm”!

We have been busy assembling IKEA furniture after a weekend visit in which the store was the busiest I have ever seen it.  Amazingly, they had everything we were after, in stock, and there was only about an hour wait to get it from the warehouse and get a spot on the loading dock to put it in the car.  At last count, IKEA products that the Family room contains include: a wall of Billy bookcases, a Lack sofa table, 2 Malm chests of 6 drawers and soon a new tabletop on our “lego table” all in Birch – we must be practically Swedish.  If only we could find a way to use the trusty allen (hex) key, to close up theat pesky gap between the two Malm units – it is driving Luke and I crazy!

Get Cooking Little Chefs

I just opened my mailbox to see that the Kids Issue of Australian Homespun is out, containing one of my projects – A chef set for Girls and one for Boys.

I actually designed these a year and a half ago (when this photo of Rory was taken) when I was very close to having a whole book of projects of my very own published.  The opportunity fell through (thanks Global Financial Crisis) and I have been sitting on them ever since.  I am so excited to be able to share them in Homespun.

This was the prototype set, which you can see was made for a little friend, Kaitlin.  Doesn’t Michaela look young!

The strangest thing about having them published, is seeing them on other children, who are modeling them in the magazine.  If you want to make your own set, duck in to your nearest newsagent, and ask for Australian Homespun No. 89, Vol 11 No. 10 “The Kids Issue”.  You will find my project on page 82, along with a profile page all about me.

Please be sure to send me an email and photo if you make one of these yourself, I would love to see your apron and hat.

Happy Cooking!

Sewing Party

Amelia’s 10th Birthday Sewing party was a great success.

Button Gingerbread biscuits were consumed (along with plenty of other treats).

The “Birthday Cake” was a plate of flower cupcakes which Luke made with the kids.

“Hoop Face” stitcheries were stitched by all.  This one is Amelia’s, you can tell by the very neat stitches.

Rory is more of a speed stitcher, he really enjoyed working on his Robot.  I need to track down a couple more 4″ hoops, so that his can have a properly sized face.

While the kids were stitching, they also took it in turns to rifle through my fabric stash to design themselves a cushion front featuring their initials.  Next time I will give you a peek.

June is all about Cake

We have three birthdays in our house, within 12 days in June.  Mr Matching Pegs (Luke), Rory and finally my birthday (which technically I share).  That’s why things have been a little bit quiet on the blog front.

There was a certain amount of switching celebrations around, to fit in around the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.  This meant that Rory celebrated his birthday yesterday, with 6 of his friends over for a “Masterchef” birthday party.

The boys made 2 mini pizzas each (with dough prepared beforehand).  They shaped their bases, and topped them with their favorite toppings.  After pizza, they moved onto decorating biscuits as footballs, and then in their football team colours.  There was probably too much colouring involved – 8 year old boys do not need extra hyping up – but they had a great time.

Luke outdid himself, making “The Ghostly Galleon” from the much loved “Women’s Weekly Kids’ Birthday Cakes” cookbook for the party.  We put the candles in, on an angle, in order to keep the flames away from the paper sails, but we thought they also looked like cannons.

On Rory’s actual birthday, Luke made “Zappo the Alien” from the same book, which the kids decorated themselves.

The most meaningful cake experience for me involved a very humble, store bought cake, last Friday.

I was able to blow out the candles with my twin brother Julian, who has spent exactly a year in hospital, and has just been discharged.  The last year has been very, very, hard.  My family is feeling like we are emerging, tentatively, from the depths of a very dark tunnel.  We are all very changed by the experience, but so amazingly grateful that we are coming out the other side.  It was really the best birthday present possible, to be able to share it with Julian, (which is as it should be, when you are a twin).  The photo of us is less than flattering, being an action shot of us blowing out the candles, but it amuses me that Lotta, who is on Julian’s lap, looks like she is blowing out the candles too.  Oh, and you can see my new red glasses!

My birthday present from Luke arrived this morning, some Lilac Ugg Boots to warm up my tootsie this winter.  As you can see out the window, it is cold and grey, and foggy.  They match the cake at the start of the post, which is a little something I am working on for someone else’s birthday.

So, have you made any amazing cakes lately?



Sometime I hear people trade stories about the size of their ironing pile, about the enormity of their backlog.  I keep pretty quiet, and I must admit, slightly mystified. I have never really been an ironer.  My iron sees a lot of action – but about 95% of that is for sewing.


All our washing is line dried, (or occasionally dried on airing racks inside) – business shirts and the like are hung straight onto hangers to dry, and Mr Matching Pegs irons his own shirts when he needs to wear them (about twice a week – he is a designer, and does not wear business shirts every day).

For this reason, starch has always been a historical item to me – something I knew people used to use, to stiffen a collar, or a special linen tablecloth.  I had never used it myself.  I don’t even know if there are people out there of my generation that use it (are there?).


After having trouble ironing under the 1/4 inch seam allowance of my little Ohio Star, (so that I could sew it on the back of my quilt) I decided to give some starch a go.  It made ironing a crisp, thin edge a piece of cake.


Now I have started using it on the remaining “New House” string quilt blocks.  It really helps the ironed fabric sit flat against the paper, ready for the next piece to be added.  I am hoping that it also helps to hold the block stable once the paper has been pulled off the back.


Here are some more recent blocks – making them is really quite relaxing.  I think I will run out of the green for the middle, before I run out of cut strips, my pile does not seem to be diminishing.

While I was musing on starch, I wondered what people had made it out of in the “olden days”.  My guess was potato (the starchiest thing I know of) but I knew the Internet would have an answer for making some at home.  It seems it can be made using corn flour (corn starch in US speak).  I assume that it can be made of other things – I am sure it would not have been made from corn in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries to stiffen neck ruffs! Make your own starch recipe found here.


Just one word of warning about starch – apparently the bugs love to eat it.  Only use starch on things that are going to be washed in the not too distant future.

So tell me, do you use starch for anything?

Goop and Papier Mache


This weekend required an activity to keep small people entertained, and it ended up involving the whole family.  I was the designated goop chef, and I made up this batch of papier mache glue, using only the ingredients you see here – Flour, sugar, water (and heat).  I found the reciepe here.


We blew up small balloons for the kids, propped them some jars and glasses, and got dipping with our ripped up newspaper.  Luke and Michaela are collaborating on a chirpy bird.  Rory and Amelia are making frogs.  Best of all, I think this project will provide amusement for days to come.

We stored the goop in the fridge overnight, and this morning it was the consistency of good old Clag.  It was great to be able to whip it up in our own kitchen for free, and we now have enough goop for a papier mache house.

Speaking of houses, here is another activity to keep the kids amused (found via Simple Mom) – celebrating our favorites, Charlie and Lola.

What did you get up to this weekend?