Friday, December 24, 2010


School finished a week ago and we are well into the rhythm of the summer holidays, still in our pj's at 10am, swimming the afternoons away, bits and pieces for dinner and falling asleep late with no bed covers in the sticky humid nights.

We moved into our house a year ago, just the three of us, and we are a much different three this Christmas. It has been a huge year for the girls and I, lots of changes and new beginnings. So it is such a nice feeling being able to settle into the long summer holidays with a sense of acheivement and hope for the new year.

From our home to yours, I wish you a very happy Christmas.

See you in 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

rainy days

It has rained for the past couple of days here.., like buckets of the stuff! We have not had any rain for such a long time that it is quite a welcome relief! Also well timed as we had more Christmas baking to do. This morning we made some lemon curd, mini banana and chocolate chip muffins, creamy chocolate fudge and some more white chocolate rocky road. I am feeling rather smug and relaxed about Christmas this year... no last minute shopping or rushing around for us.

Last year was such a hectic time with moving in to a new house etc, that this year I vowed we would just enjoy it all. So far so good!

ps. I put the recipes in separate posts - I find it a bit easier for reference :-)

creamy chocolate fudge


250g butter
4 1/2 cups of caster sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup of good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Place butter, sugar, cocoa and milk in a large deep pot (this is important, the fudge will boil up high!). Bring to the boil over a medium heat and cook until mixture reaches soft ball stage (116C).  Stir occasionally whilst fudge is cooking with a wooden spoon.

Remove fudge from heat and beat with an electric mixer (beater) for about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla essence and chocolate, then beat for a further 4 minutes. The mixture should loose it's shine and go a little dull. Pour into a 33cm x 23cm baking tray, lined with baking paper and quickly smooth with plastic scraper. Score 3.5cm squares when cool and cut when cold.

White chocolate Rocky Road

White Chocolate Rocky Road

180g packet pink and white marshmallows, halved
70g pistachio nuts (lightly toasted)
100g dried cranberries (or a mixture of dried blueberries, plums, cranberries etc)
50g thread coconut (I actually used dessicated)
375g packet white chocolate melts

Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper leaving an overhang on all sides. Place marshmallows, pistachios, cranberries and coconut in a large bowl and toss to combine.
Place white chocolate melts in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan half full of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) for 3-5 minutes, to melt. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool a little.
Pour chocolate over marshmallow mixture and toss to coat (try not to over mix). Spoon into prepared tin and press evenly over the base. Leave in a cool place to set.
Remove from tin and peel off the paper. Cut into small squares to serve. Store in an airtight container.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd Recipe

220g butter, diced
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups lemon juice (about 6 juicy lemons), strained
6 large eggs

Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water (or double boiler). Heat over medium heat until the butter has melted. Whisk the eggs in a seperate bowl and stir them into the butter mixture. Over a gentle heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 3-5 minutes. Make sure the mixture does not boil. It's ready when the lemon curd holds a line when you run your finger across the back of the coated spoon.

Remove from the heat, and quickly pour the hot mixture through a strainer into a clean jug to remove any lemon zest and flecks of egg white, then pour it into hot sterilized jars (about 4) and seal. This will keep for several weeks in fridge.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

special offer

... just to say a little thank you to all my blog, twitter and facebook friends, I thought I would offer a special discount of 15% on my felt shop.

Just enter the code: XMAS2010 in your message at checkout and I will send you a revised total with 15% discount. Offer valid until Friday, 17th December 2010.

I have only one more market to go, then it's holiday time!
Sunday 19th December, 2010
11am - 2pm
Grey Lynn Community Centre
Main Hall - 510 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland

Sunday, December 12, 2010

sunny sundays

The girls and I have enjoyed a lovely sunny Sunday - we had lots of Christmas baking and goodie bags to put together for friends, so started our morning making some with sticky buns. Sticky, sweet, cinnamon buns and coffee have to be up there in terms of Sunday morning treats! I have a picnic to go to tomorrow and the other half of the dough is sitting in the fridge waiting to be popped into the oven for 10 minutes in the morning!

After baking sticky buns, vanilla shortbread, white chocolate rocky road and brownie, we packaged it up then spent a lazy afternoon at the beach. Perfect.

Friday, December 10, 2010

and the winner is...

I used the random number generator to pick a winner from my little Christmas giveaway and that person is Joanna from Little Minx. Congratulations Joanna! I will email you for postal address etc. Thanks for your lovely comments, they are always so nice to read through.

I have been at school all morning for Bella's Athletics day, now Lucy and I are enjoying an hour in the cool of the house before we head back up to collect Bella. It was stinking hot up on the fields, I bet there will be a few hot tired kids tonight! Hope you are all enjoying your Friday, be it hot or cold :-)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

two to go...

I love markets, I love the people watching (some people have the most amazing personal style!), chatting to market friends and meeting loads of interesting characters, but I have to say that I am excited that I am now on the countdown with only two to go! It has been a busy few months, and I am so tired. Thankfully I am prepared, so I have been able to enjoy finishing off a few last minute items without the usual panic. Today I even managed to whip up some New Zealand Christmas inspired key rings from some gorgeous pohutukawa fabric scraps I had.

This Saturday I will be at the second Auckland Art & Craft Fair. First time for me, so I am looking forward to see how it goes. If you are in Auckland, pop along and say hi, have a look around and support New Zealand handmade by buying some gorgeous Christmas gifts.

Saturday 11th December, 2010
11am - 4pm
Aotea Centre, THE EDGE
Auckland City

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I received a lovely email today letting me know that my bias tape was featured in the 'sweet bites' section of a lovely new indie art and craft magazine called toffee. This magazine is super sweet and packed full of lovely articles and beautiful eye candy - why not check it out!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

in the shop

I had a lovely day at the Devonport Christmas Festival today. It was so nice being out in the green in the middle of all the goings on. We managed to watch the Santa parade and listen to the live music all day. The only downside was the gorgeous Pohutukawa tree that we were under shedding all its flower stamen all over us and our tables. A lot of shaking was required at pack up!

I am in the midst of a wee shop update and have just listed some more of my 'make your own' kits in my felt store. Peg dolls and felt flower hair ties - great stocking stuffers!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Christmas Festival

Tomorrow I will be at the Devonport Christmas Festival. I can't wait. All year we have been inside the Community Centre for the Devonport Craft Market, and it will be so lovely to be out in the green enjoying the sunshine (I hope it's sunny!!) and watching all the floats on the Santa parade.

If you are around on Sunday, pop down to Devonport and enjoy the parade and the market stalls. It starts at 11am with the Santa Parade followed by Dance in the Park which will run until 3pm.

A mini Devonport Craft Market will be held on the Windsor reserve. There are about 20 stalls set up for the day. This will be your last time  to purchase from Craft Market sellers, in Devonport for 2010.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Gifthorse

On the look out for cool places to shop for Christmas gifts? There is a cute little pop up shop opening next week and it will have a few of my things too.

24 Graham Street
Auckland City
Weekdays 11am - 3pm
8th December - 22nd December

Hope you have a great weekend planned, we have been swimming all morning so will hopefully sleep well tonight!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

my creative space: retro fabric

I found the most amazing vintage fabric yesterday. Well, actually, I found the most amazing vintage kids quilt cover (complete with very, very, old feather duvet inner inside!) which I snatched up and bought at lightening speed before anyone else could see it!

I took it home, cut it up, soaked, washed and aired it on the line - so it is now the most amazing vintage fabric ripe to be used! The only problem is I have so many ideas of what I want to do with this gorgeous fabric that I might need to just pause, and think it through first. Watch this space...

I have just finished packing up a new batch of upcycled envelopes after spending the last couple of evenings cutting, folding and gluing (whilst watching Master Chef Australia!), I also have a stack of other things to do this morning (as my sick 2 year old is asleep...) in preparation for the Devonport Christmas Market in the Park on Sunday, before I head to an afternoon training course, then Bella's Christmas concert tonight! Better get a move on :-)

For more creative peeps, head over to Kirsty's

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas Giveaway

Wow - it is the 1st of December! I can't believe it just snuck up on us like that. So, to get in to the Christmas spirit (and to make up for my woeful lack of posting!) I thought I would do a wee giveaway....

The giveaway includes: A 'paris' linen pencil case, 3 yards of pretty rose bias tape, a lavender bag, some bakers twine, a couple of packs of gift tags and small gift cards.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, or comment on the giveaway post on cattaylordesign facebook page.
For extra entries, you can:
* Follow my blog (if you don't already)
* 'like' my cattaylordesign facebook page
* Mention my giveaway on your facebook page or blog
Just leave a comment here letting me know what you have done :-)

Entries close Friday the 10th December. This is open to anyone, you don't need to be a blogger - just leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win. International entries are most welcome!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Oops, Firstly I guess I need to say sorry for the lack of posts! We have all been sick with coughs and colds and lots and lots of green snot. Yuk! Why is it that you manage to survive winter only to get sick when the summer weather starts?

Just a quickie tonight. I am only doing one market this weekend, which feels lovely after all the markets I have done recently. If you are out and about and looking for some Christmas inspiration, come along to Kraftbomb on Sunday. I have been busy sewing up stacks of new crayon rolls and oilcloth purses so head down and say hi.

Sunday 28th November
Grey Lynn Community Centre
Main Hall - 510 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

more markets

I have another couple of markets this week. So have been trying to finish off a few last minute bits and bobs. I currently have 100 button bookmarks drying on the kitchen table, 50 lavender bags to fill and sew up, 40 oilcloth purses to trim, turn out and iron, 20 keyrings which need hardware, yards upon yards of bakers twine to package, a few matryoshka dolls to finish stuffing and stitch up... maybe I should stop typing and just get on with it!

Anyway, if you want to find me, this is where I'll be:

Gladstone Christmas Market
Thursday 18th November
Gladstone School Hall
8 Seaview Terrace, Mt Albert

Sunday 21st November
Devonport Community House
32 Clarence St, Devonport
Hope your week is going well!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

pizza dough

Lacking in motivation for dinner, the girls and I decided to make pizza's tonight. The pizza dough recipe we use is really quick and easy, rises within 30 minutes so definitely something you can whip up last minute. I made some flat bread to have with a salad for myself as I just wasn't in the mood for pizza - the dough is equally as lovely just flattened out and brushed with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and some herbs.

Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cups luke warm water (I actually use cold as I am scared of killing the yeast with too warm water)
7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
Pinch of caster sugar
4 cups plain/strong flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil + extra for brushing

Combine the yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl. Pop aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Combine  flour and salt in a large bowl, making a well in the centre. Add the oil and yeast mixture to the well. Using a bread and butter knife, mix until just combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.

Brush a clean bowl lightly with oil. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in the prepared bowl, turning to coat in oil. Cover with glad wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

my creative space: new faces

We have funny weather today, light misty rain, but still warm. Lucy and I did our morning post/coffee run after dropping Bella at school, and have come back and bunkered down for the morning. I have loads of new supplies to sort out, and am aiming to finish off some more matryoshka dolls made from  my vintage sheet collection.

Hope your are having a good week. For more creative inspiration, head over to Kirsty's.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I don't know about you, but there always seem to be an abundance of hungry mouths to feed after school in our house. I find the easiest thing to feed my kids and their friends after school is a platter of fruit and veges with rice crackers or hummus. It fills them up, but doesn't ruin their appetite for dinner.


400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed well
juice of 2 lemons
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 Tbsp of tahini (I tend to be quite heavy handed with the Tahini as I love it)
1 Tbsp olive oil
a couple of tablespoons of water to thin out

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste, and thin out with a little water if necessary. Serve with toasted pita bread, rice crackers or vege sticks. Store in an airtight container in fridge.