Jan 12, 2015

Holiday recap and points of note...

Let's work backwards because my photos are in that order and who has time/patience to drag photos around in blogger? 

Lately:

1. I jumped a really ridiculously SMALL jump and my husband took it on a low angle to make me look 10x more athletic than I actually am. I trained him well...
 
[Beach walk at Karioitahi where we attended a wedding a few days ago]

2. My baby matched my colour scheme for said wedding. I'll never get sick of making sure we are matchy matchy and then denying it and saying it was an accident.

[Also, this girl is pretty much crawling and she can move way faster than is practical for her slow mama. And she has become freakishly sociable the last few weeks. So good.]
 3. Before that, we redid our guest room and had guests sleep here on Christmas night. It still has a few touches waiting so I may or may not blog about it before then, but here's one side. The wall is a pale aqua-mint, not that it shows in photos very well!


4. And even before that... I attempted to make a yarn-ball wreath. Glue the balls on and it couldn't be easier you might think, but I ran into a few hiccups and it still has bald patches that I disguised/avoided for this photo.


5. Also there was Christmas! My favourite. I was SO pumped about it and was dreading it being over but then as soon as it was done - so relieved. There is a lot of stress that goes into something so enjoyable - it's weird! On Christmas day we spent time with both sides of our family and packed in lots of great food and tennis playing (by which I mean smacking balls around and/or looking like you are doing something other than standing on the side lines doing nothing) and presents. Christmas with a baby was fun - we didn't go nuts buying presents for a 6 month old but I kept forgetting that everyone else bought her things and I got to open them! If you know me then you know that present-opening is my favouritist.
[Our first actual Christmas tree that's not plastic! It was quite beautiful aside from the droopiness and husbands allergic face-swelling reaction.]

For other titbits of my private life that you probably don't care about....my instagram.That's where the magic happens these days. Am I right, bloggers?







Dec 17, 2014

DIY Chocolate truffles 3 ways

So back in the day I used to make chocolates, and sell them, and supply the odd wedding with them as favours. It was fun but I got really sick of making chocolates. To this day, people ask about them and since I finally have my chocolate-making mojo back I thought I'd share.

Here are 3 flavours that I've been making for Christmas events and gifts lately.
There's a reason this is not a baking blog - I tend to bake by eye rather than following a strict recipe. So instead of giving exact quantities, I'll try to briefly describe the method below each one!

Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog
Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog 

These peppermint cremes have fresh mint leaves in the filling - I got the idea from Chelsea Winter's peppermint slice recipe, and it tastes SO GOOD. The husband says "it looks like sour cream and chives" when he sees the tiny flecks of mint in the mixture, but everyone votes 300% for them including me. Mmmmm so delicious.

For the filling, the ingredients should be mixed to a smooth paste - sticky and not too firm, but not as runny as icing. You should be able to shape it into sloppy balls. Then freeze the balls to firm them up before re-rolling into perfect balls and dipping in the melted chocolate with your swizel stick, and tipping out onto a sheet of baking paper.

I topped mine with slices of green gummy lollies (cut with kitchen scissors).
When the chocolate sets, it contains the soft minty filling.

Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog
Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog

I wanted a chocolate that was christmassy in taste and appearance, so put a few spices into the filling (cinnamon and cardamom). BUT this is also the best base recipe for any truffle. I made some today with no spices, and just a few grains of rock salt on top of each one. So good!

For the filling, ratio the chocolate to cream at 2:1.
E.g 200gm chocolate, 100gm cream.
Melt them together and mix, then leave in fridge to set in the bowl before scooping and shaping into balls. I freeze them to make dipping in the coating easier.

Chocolate truffles 3 ways - cookie dough. by fivekindsofhappy blog
Chocolate truffles 3 ways - cookie dough. by fivekindsofhappy blog

 I feel like this combo is still considered *So American* by New Zealanders as eating cookie dough isn't really the done thing here.  But"Ewwwwwwwww" said no-one ever when confronted with raw cookie dough. This dough is eggless and I just add a bit of cream to make it softer and more truffley. You can use any basic cookie dough as a base.

These all look sweet when packaged in a bag and tied with string - happy gifting!

And by gifting I mean one-for-me-one-for-you pop-it-in-your-gob because you have to eat every single truffle that is slightly misshapen or less than perfectly spherical or that has too much chocolate on it because it's the rules. So really, happy eating!






Dec 11, 2014

I made felt donuts

I did!
They were on my Christmas/Summer bucket list and I'm so pleased they're done.

If you have tried to complete projects with a little baby before you know how it us - a snatched 5 minutes each evening after bedtime over a period of weeks/months. But here they are in all their very-imperfect sugary looking glory.

DIY Felt donuts // Amy MacLeod - Five Kinds of Happy blog

I roughly followed a few different online tutorials and the rest came out of my head. My felt colours were limited according to what the local Spotlight stocked so I didn't get all the pastel colours I wanted - just pale pink. It was fun making the different combinations tho.

DIY Felt donuts // Amy MacLeod - Five Kinds of Happy blog

You can see the stitching is very, uh, rustic in places. And some of the donuts are a little more flat than others... but I'm ok with that because they are pink and sprinkly and calorie free. Does it get better?

DIY Felt donuts // Amy MacLeod - Five Kinds of Happy blog

I'm not totally sure what to do with these yet. Originally they were going to be a future-gift for my daughter  because I'm prepared like that. I thought with a little mixing bowl, tray and mini-spatula they could make a cool gift. Maybe to go with this wooden toy 'Honeybake' cake mixer that is the stuff my living-vicariously-through-my-child dreams are made of. 

I'm also keen to use them for Christmas decorations. 

It did cross my mind to use them as part of a nursery mobile but then I wasn't sure if letting my baby fall asleep staring at pink icing donuts circling above her head every night plus 3 naps a day would send the best message about food and nutrition..


DIY Felt donuts // Amy MacLeod - Five Kinds of Happy blog

 They're cute anyway, whatever we do with them. And I can high-five myself that I didn't have to pay for them+ shipping on Etsy or equivalent. Yayyy





Dec 10, 2014

Six months and a guest bedroom teaser

We've got a few housey projects going on over here but I thought I'd better drop in and do a more personal-life update - sometimes I feel like if I don't write something down I'll forget it forever!

Six months.
I thought we'd never get here.
I distinctly remember when Ella was 2 weeks old and the midwife told us about some of her older babies who were 5 or 6 weeks of age... I was like "6 weeks??! Those babies are SO OLD. I could never relate to those mothers because they are experts by now." True story.

And then suddenly your own baby is 6 months old and you realise that for half a year you have been watching other mothers thinking "they have all got it together by now" but actually they probably didn't. Or they did, and you just suck at motherhood.
Kidding! But not actually because those are the thoughts that go through a mother's head. "We don't have a proper routine! We don't eat at set times! I have no idea how long she is going to stay asleep for!" PANIC.

If you've ever read a baby book you know that you absolutely must have control over all those things and if not... bad mummy who is screwing her whole family's life up.

Our life, clearly, is very screwed up.


In the happiest, loveliest of ways.

{"I'll eat you up, I love you so."}
 I wonder if this worry about all the things we are no doubt doing wrong will ever end. I'm guessing not? Teenagers, anyone?

Our baby had a really rough first-3-months of life and so did we. Horrible! 

But 6 months? 6 months is bliss by comparison. 6 months is 'such fun!' even tho we have definitely not resolved all our random feeding issues. Things are so improved it's like a different life.
6 months is rolling and babbling and grabbing for the things she wants. I FINALLY can get some indication of what she wants! I have been waiting for this since she was born. 6 months is so interactive, and she can use her tone of voice/whinge/cry/screech to communicate. She can play with toys herself (meaning stuff everything into her mouth) and she has 2 teeth already. She has a heightened sense of stranger-danger and is nearly crawling already. She can't quite sit up alone but sometimes I catch her doing pushups on her toes and hands. She went through a phase at 5-months of loving daddy and being reeeeally bored of me, but now at 6 months she's all mummy-loving smiles again.

6 months is spouse-dating, workout-ing, dinner-cooking, house-vacuuming, room-makeovering, night-sleeping goodness.

It's still full-on and I still want to crawl under the bed and hide/nap every second day. I don't know how other mums have the time for their squillions of mummy-groups (there is a class every day of the week for your baby if you want to attend them, starting from newborns pretty much!). I have SO many things I want to do now that I'm not pregnant/sick anymore. Every time I go on a run or enjoy a big meal I feel so thankful to be past that.

We are working on our guest bedroom at the moment to have it done in time for Christmas! I'll leave you with a tiny teaser: A Before pic and a Progress pic..

{Before}
{Progress}
I'll be back with the full makeover as soon as we're done. I upholstered that headboard myself (twice) and you may remember it was a dark blue the first time... so boring and so not me and I'm glad the husband convinced me to do something else (quote: "Since when do you care what anybody else thinks?!")

Anyway, I have to go, my daughter is commando-crawling backwards across the room in a beeline for her dirty nappy that is sitting there neatly parceled up. Did I mention everything goes in the mouth? #momlife






Nov 17, 2014

NYC Loft Apartment living area design

I was recently asked by Chairish to design a room idea using one of their Chairish accent chairs. I chose this bright pink Danish chair and popped it into a New York loft style apartment setting. Here's the design I came up with:

Amy MacLeod// New York loft interior design - leather couch, brick wall, pink accent chair
In this setting you've got a pretty funky brick wall and a big leather couch that I would actually really like for myself...
 
I spent ages trying different rugs and in the end settled on a plain one as everything else looked so busy - what kind of rug would you choose?