Light & Delicious Mulberry Muffins Recipe

Oh my gosh, these Mulberry Muffins are so light, fluffy and super tasty. I couldn't stop at one. And they are so quick and easy to make too.

As you read this, I will entering day surgery for removal of a large nasal polyp, something I am NOT looking forward to, but out it must come. In the meantime I will comfort myself with some of these yummy muffins, I have stored in the freezer. I had to find some more ways to make use of all the mulberries my tree is producing.

There are not many recipes on the internet for mulberry muffins, so I just had to experiment and make my own. I used Making Home Base's Blueberry Muffins as my starting point and combined it with my own muffin baking experience to make a more simplified version.

Mulberry Muffins Recipe

2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs,
¾ cup milk
115g (4oz or ½ cup) melted butter
1 cup mulberries (fresh or frozen)
Demerara sugar or other coarse sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180*C
  2. Grease 12 muffin tins
  3. Melt the butter for 15-30 seconds in microwave - wait & cool down if hot.
  4. Lightly whisk egg with fork and add the eggs & milk to the melted butter.
  5. In another mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients all at once and stir until just moistened.
  7. Fold in frozen blueberries — it’s OK if the batter is a little lumpy
  8. Scoop batter into muffin cups until they are almost full
  9. Sprinkle the tops of muffins with the demerara sugar (optional)
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until middles are set and tops are golden

I did say in an earlier post that you can't go past a great Mulberry Pie. My hubby prefers the easy Mulberry Buckle over the pie, but these muffins are my personal favourites.

Give them all a go and tell me which you like better!

Converting little knight dolls into princesses

My two little grand daughters have their birthdays within weeks of each other and since they have only just moved nearby from interstate a couple of months ago, I had very few toys for them to play with at our house. Their birthday party theme was princesses, so when I saw this wonderful 'Big Jigs' King Arthur's castle that one of my daughters pointed out, it was a no brainer to buy it for their combined birthdays.

It's biggest drawback is that it is really aimed at boys, of course being King Arthur and his knights.
I can really recommend this brand as it is a very sturdy construction.
There were 4 knights in the set as well as the king and the warlock

Little girls want princes and princesses not knights! So I set myself to convert 2 of the little wooden "waldorf doll" knights into princesses.

In order to undress the dolls, I had to remove their heads. My gosh, the dolls are so strong that I could not twist or prise the heads off and sought the assistance of my son, since hubby was doing some volunteer work in New Zealand at the time. The only way we could get the heads off was to literally cut off the heads.

No wonder the heads were so hard to get off, they were doweled in. That makes them well nigh indestructible for the rough handling they'll get from the kids!!!

So using the original clothing as a basis for the pattern and sizing, I proceeded to make up the dresses and a cloak from scraps of fabric left over from previous projects.

I burnt the edges using candle flame to stop the fabric fraying.

I could have machine stitched the dresses, but it was almost as fast to hand stitch such little things especially if changing cotton colours each time, plus I can catch up with a daytime tv show I might occasionally watch.

Once the dresses were made and some embellishments glued or sewn on, then I had to wait for hubby to come back to reattach the heads. He drilled out the original dowels and we glued in some new dowels.

Here are the finished princess dolls.

Miri has called this one Rapunzel.

This one she has as the wicked step mother! LOL

Still it was fun making them and the joy of watching the girls play is reward enough.

Mulberry Buckle - a super easy dessert recipe

I have discovered this delicious and super easy dessert using mulberries called a buckle. I can almost hear you asking "What is a buckle?" Here is the definition straight from Huffington Post. "A buckle layers a more traditional, cakey batter underneath the fruit. As the dessert cooks, the cake rises around the fruit, which tries its best to sink to the bottom, making the whole thing buckle inwards."

I adapted it from this recipe Lazy Day Cobbler and thought to try it out with my mulberries.

WOW! It is fantastic. It is really easy to make. I was worried as I was making it that it would be too sweet but it wasn’t. It great for an easy to make dessert. I had boobed and what I thought was cream in my pantry was actually full cream milk, so we had to eat it ‘naked’ and it still got the thumbs up. I am sure it would be fabulous accompanied with cream or ice cream. It is enough for 6 people. I am going to try to halve it as our youngest is leaving the nest in just 3 weeks (to live in Japan!)

Mulberry Buckle

Fruit Mix

400g mulberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Cobbler mix

1/4 c. butter (melted)
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c light milk (1% fat)

1. Preheat oven to 180oC (350oF).
2. In a bowl, sprinkle the fruit with the 1/2 cup of sugar slightly mashing the fruit leaving some bigger pieces for bite. Stir in the cornflour and lemon juice.
3. Set aside whilst making the cobbler part.

4. In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and milk, with a fork.

5. Place melted butter in an 18cm x 28cm (7" x 11") slice tray.
6. Spread the batter in the dish directly over the butter.

7. Pour mulberry mix over the batter.

8. Bake for 50 minutes.
9.Let cool for 5 minutes before serving if you can wait that long.

Please a note in the comments if you have a favourite dessert recipe.

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Operation Christmas Child: The gift of love

Operation Christmas Child a project from Samaritan’s Purse that our family has been involved in for many years. This is an awesome way to give a child a gift who may not get anything at all for Christmas and to see that we can use some of our abundance to help make the holiday a little brighter for them. It is a great way to teach our children the importance of giving, to share our abundance with others who may otherwise never receive even a single gift in their lives to date.

How to participate

  1. Grab an empty shoebox or other small plastic container.
  2. Choose a gender and age group for your recipient and print off a handy label.{age groups are 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14}
  3. Go shopping or even better if you are crafty, make somethings!

Make or buy gifts to fill your box that will bring joy to a child. We/you can fill a shoe box with items that a child would like to receive. There are a few 'rules' such as no food or second hand items can be included, also please no toys of violence such as guns & swords.

I generally start with an idea of what age and sex child I want to aim for. I choose this year, we decided to gift a 8-10 year old boy. (I think this is a harder age group and therefore thought others might shy from it).

Just as I finished my boxes for this year, I found This free Small Doll Sewing Pattern made exclusively for Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes.

I love to sew and next year this is something I would love to do.
If you follow her blog she also has free tutorials for painting a doll's face and for other modifications.

Free pattern available from Sarah's blog.

Jamie and Amy each have 100 wonderful suggestions for possible inclusions so that you have an idea of what could go in such a box. It is not too late to make up a box this year, but you will have to hurry as they need to be pack and shipped to their destination very, very soon. I am sure that there is a drop off point near you, whether you are in Australia, New Zealand or USA. (I am not sure about other countries.)

Can I help in other ways?

You could consider donating towards the cost of shipping and other related project costs. $7 has been suggested for each box, though more or less is just as appreciated.

Every year, thousands upon thousands of generous people across the world lovingly pack shoe boxes with gifts a few months before our Christmas as a simple, yet powerful messages of God’s unconditional love.

Thankfully there are many people who participate in OCC each year.

Zebra heat pack

Well this week has been rather hectic but still I managed to get another heat pack made. This time it is my zany  Zara Zebra.

Things don't always go according to plan. This cute zebra wasn't meant to be a heat pack. I was aiming at making a hobby horse type zebra with this printed flannelette material I had pick up in the remnant pile from my local Spotlight store.

I designed it, cut it out and sewed it up. But when I went to stuff it, it just didn't look big enough. By the time I had rounded it out the head appeared too small for the broom stick. Bummer!

But I can't waste it completely, so I thought I'd fill it with 2 cups of rice and turn it into a heat pack! So now it can join the other heat pack owls I made here.

Instructions or rather how I did it:

  1. I cut the material to my own pattern.
  2. Out of some felt, I cut a strip of black approx 10cm (4 inches) wide and 22cm (8.5inches) long and cut a fringe along one edge. I cut two black circles and 2 white circles for the  eyes. I also cut 2 sort of triangles in black  for the ears and 2 smaller white triangles for the inner ears.
  3. The ears and mane were placed along the seam line between the main fabric and sewn into place at the same time as doing the main seam, leaving about a 3cm (1 inch) gap at the bottom.
  4. I used a funnel to direct 2 cups of rice inside the zebra.
  5. The sewing the opening closed with a whip stitch.
Ta da! It is finished.

Do you prefer the owls or the zebra?

I rather like making these. I might try some other animals...
but first I really want to conquer the hobby horse for my granddaughters!!!

Classic Cheesy Macaroni

This is one food that brings back memories of my childhood. It is so easy to make. I was horrified to find that there are many people who have never tasted the fresh stuff, they have only had the packet stuff. Shudder... how can you compare?

Cheesy Macaroni

This is certainly not one for weight watching. But sure is high on the comfort food charts. This recipe will make a big lasagne tray. It can feed 6 big hungry footballers, no problems. If you want to keep it simple and healthy then serve with side vegetables and/or green salad and it will probably serve 10 people for a family gathering.

You can also divide it up into smaller casserole dishes and freeze some. It keeps very well in the fridge for several days, if anything I think it develops more deeply the inherent flavours within it.

Cheesy Macaroni

500g macaroni
1 onion, chopped
60g margarine or butter
300g bacon, diced
2/3rd cup flour
¼ teaspoon mustard
Salt & pepper
500g grated cheese
1 1/2  cups milk powder
5 cups of water
1 cup breadcrumbs


Cook macaroni in pan of large pan of boiling water. Drain when just cooked.

Meanwhile you can get started on the sauce by melting the margarine/butter in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and then cook onion in the margarine on high until translucent for 2 minutes in the microwave.
Add plain flour, mustard, milk powder, salt & pepper.

Slowly add the water at about 1/4 cup at a time and mix to ensure a lump free sauce.


Cook in the microwave on high for 10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes until the time is up.

If desired you can add more milk if you think it is getting too thick. You want it to be like a thick pouring cream albeit lumpy from the onions only. If you interrupt the cooking every 2 minutes and stir it well, it will be perfect - not gluggy & lumpy from undissolved flour clumps.

Only lumps is from the onions!
You will need to transfer the sauce into a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the grated cheese, diced bacon pieces & the cooled drained macaroni. whilst the sauce is still hot. Mix well.

Transfer into greased baking dishes.

Melt a litte extra butter with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle the tops with the breadcrumbs.
Cook in 180o C (350o F) for approx 25 minutes.

This will be one dish you'll want to come back to time and time again.
So go ahead, start your own tradition and create something that will cause your family to have fond memorie.

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DIY cute and easy owl heat pack

We have the gorgeous Tawny Frogmouth Owl on our property. He is so well disguised you are hard pressed to find him unless he moves. Now in the fabric & craft world one can see owls everywhere. So I decided that I wanted to make a cute owl heat pack for my grand daughters.

It is a hoot to sew this simple and absolutely adorable, microwavable owl heat pack.  I played with various design concepts and each one was different from the preceding one. This owl has been strongly influences by Dustin Pike's cute digital clip art owls. To keep things nice and simple, this tutorial is the easiest version.

Owl heat pack tutorial


Materials I used:

  • 2 larger scraps of material approx 20 x 20cm each (8 x 8 inch). I used a minky type fabric for this tutorial, though my other ones have been made from fine pin-whale corduroy. Duck, ticking and most tightly woven cotton materials would be best. Fleecy works well too.
  • Felt scraps for the eyes and beak. A few of my owls had the eyes made from scrap materials too!
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue
  • 1 1/2 cup rice 
  • 1 sprig of lavender (optional and interchangeable with other scents though not many flowers work well unless pre-dried.
  • A funnel was handy. 
  • Pattern: See the end of the post for the free pattern. 

I mostly used my machine for all stitching though I would hand sew the lot if I were traveling on the road, since it is a small project and I like hand sewing too - though my blanket stitch leaves a lot to be desired! LOL


Cut a basic outline of the owl body shape with a 5mm (1/4 inch) seam allowance.*and then from a contrasting or coordinating fabric, cut 2 wing shapes.

Then from some felt remnants, draw a triangle for the nose and some circles for the eyes. *

Then the larger 'double circle' shape for the joined eye patch
Right so that is all the material cut and ready for sewing now. Play around with placement and pin if desired.
I need to go and wet and iron my pink eye patch - it just wont lay flat!


    Sew the wing shapes  onto the body front using a zigzag or blind hemming stitch.**.

    Sew the larger 'double' eye in the same manner as the wings

    Since I have used felt I decided to glue the beak and the rest of the eyes. First I glued the beak and then the black pupil to the white of the eye. Before the final attachment of the eyes, I played around with a couple of different eye positions just for the fun of it. Which look do you like best. I think each changes the owl's expression!

    He is getting dizzy with all the changes  - LOL
    OK I decided he is going to be looking up! So I glue it on.

    Now to the actual bag/body part First pin it right sides together. Don't worry about the wings hanging out as they do on mine.

    Place right sides of the body together and stitch small straight stitches leaving a 5cm (2 inch) gap at the base. My machine is playing up and skipped a few stitches every now and then so I decided to sew around a second time as I certainly don't want any rice leaking out!!!

    Now I like to clip the pointy ears to remove some of the bulk.

    I also like to clip around the curves, even to removing little triangles in the seam to reduce the bulk. It is not strictly necessary, but it is what I like to do.

    That's the machine sewing done. Now turn the bag right side out. I like to use a fat pen with the pen part wither retracted or removed to poke the ears out. I found a knitting needle more often poked a hole through the fabric for me.

    Using a funnel for ease, add  about 1 and a half cups of rice, or wheat and a tiny little of whichever flowers or herbs you would like to use.

    Hand sew shut the gap. And you are done.
    It actually is slower taking all the photos and writing up the steps than it is to just get stuck into the job. It really is so simple and doesn't take much time at all.

    To use: 

    Microwave for 1 minute and then in 10 second increments until your owl is nice and warm. Be careful not to microwave for any longer than 3 minutes as it will overheat.


     *     I have a PDF pattern you are free to use to your hearts content with no restrictions other than no direct use of pattern on your blog or other media but feel free to link back or sew and sell finished owls anywhere.
    **   A Blind hemming stitch can resemble a hand sewn blanket stitch by altering the settings.
    *** With felt and fleecy, you can avoid sewing by using a soft tacky glue such as Aleene's
    Machine sewing the eyes - just take it slow and turn constantly


    You could stitch the body around the edges on the outside instead (and avoid the turning bit) for a more rustic look. You will still need to leave a gap at the bottom for the filling before continuing with the sewing. Be aware some fabrics will fray more than others, for some that is part of the charm. You could also cut the shapes with a pinking shears which will reduce a lot of the fraying.

    Button Eyes?
    I choose not to use buttons, firstly because my original owls went to very young children and I didn't want the risk of them choking on a button if it came off. Secondly, buttons are hard and uncomfortable in some positions when using a heat pack. Be especially aware of the googly eye type buttons as many of them are made from a soft plastic which could melt or worst in a microwave oven.

    I prefer rice to wheat as the heat material for the much lower allergen problems. Both are prone to absorbing moisture if in a high humidity environment. If this this the case then I suggest you make a cotton calico inner bag and then the outer owl. This way you can replace the inner bag and keep the decorative outer bag. I also like to add a sprig of lavender. You could add a variety of scents. Try a cinnamon stick for a spicy scent especially for a male recipient.
    Of course you can turn this into a softie just by changing the filling from rice to fibrefill.

    On one owl, I added little ribbon feet before sewing the front and back together

    See his little feet poking out?
    This next one was my very first owl. Sewing the wings on like this was much more fiddly, but I really wanted to incorporate the hearts which were left overs from a skirt I had made recently for one of my grand daughters. The feet was pretty simple.

    I hope you can just click on the picture above and save it to your computer. Enlarge it to fit on your page when printing. I had a go at embedding a PDF file, but I didn't like the look on my blog post. Since it was my first attempt, maybe I did something wrong. If this doesn't work for you then just send me a message via email, Google+ or Facebook and I will send it to you by return email.)

    I have entered this in my first craft linky party. When you click on that button it takes to the 'party' where lots of people are posting their crafty posts (and some yummy recipes) for the party.

    I actually found another linky party, so here are the two parties. Please come and join me on the new adventure!

    All Things with Purpose