Ava's Easy To Make Chocolate Cake :)

 It was the last day of Autumn and I'd planned an outing to a friends house to have cake and a cup of tea in the name of cancer research Australia's Biggest Morning Tea I was so looking forward to same but Master Picket Fence had other ideas and came down with a mighty big cold, and as those who have raised a two year old with a mighty big cold will attest....you wouldn't take them anywhere. We had a full day to spend at home and decided we'd whip up a cake to fill in some time.
  Now , I'm not the worlds best cook, I 'll announce that from the start, you will see my cake is unique looking , a little domed ...but we will get to that ;) First , here's a photo of my snuffly, cold ridden assistant.
This is a recipe out of my Grandmothers cook book, its filled with recipes such as " Ivy's lemon tarts" and " May's fruit cake"  from the days when you linked a good recipe to its owner. Days of community :) I remember these women, but they're names were prefixed with the word "Aunty" as in those times, a child always referred to adults as Mr or Mrs, never by a first name. Thus close family friends became Aunts and Uncles to differentiate between honorary family and outsiders. I think we all remember that era with fondness. It's a habit, these days, not seen so often.
OK, here's the ingredients..... you need around 125gms of butter, a dash of vanilla extract, 1 1/4 cups of caster sugar ( I let my hand slip here and add about I/4 more ..oops!) 1/2 a cup of cocoa, 2 eggs ( 3 if you like it muddy) 1 1/3 cups of self raising flour, about 2/3 cup of water.

 After  greasing your pan and preheating your oven to around 180 degrees Celsius. Throw it all in the large bowl of your electric mixer .Start on a low speed for about a minute and then wind it up to full speed for another 3 minutes . It should then look slightly paler...like this :)
 Bake it for around an hour trying not to burn the edges like I did (super cook I am not) and then let it cool in its tin for five minutes, turning it out onto a wire rack to go cold.
 Then its your choice, ice away or dust with icing sugar. Baby Picket Fence and I enjoyed ours with icing sugar, Mr Picket Fence enjoyed his with cream. The other Picket Fence children came home to a house that smelt like chocolate cake :) and I do believe had seconds.... Its a win win. Not a flash looking cake, but it's so easy, has a crunch to the outside ( the extra sugar) and a moistness to the inside.... big thumbs up in the family friendly ranks :)
  Hoping you have a lovely day, and fingers crossed the winter wind will blow the Picket Fence cold germs away :) Have a go at this easy cake and let me know what you think. We might call this one Ava's chocolate cake huh ? Perhaps :) Perhaps xx
Linking in today with Sarah's "abeachcottage"

A Packet of Chocolate Royals

Good Morning Picket Fence Fancy friends,
This post is pretty much about nothing .Well actually, it's about Chocolate Royals :) So it's about something. It was the end of my working week ( in my not so Picket Fence job) and I really was wanting to go out in my garden and play with my lensbaby but it was kind of cold and the Picket Fence children were home from school and feeling a little "Friday", so instead , we had afternoon tea with a shop bought packet of Arnotts Chocolate Royals.
The Picket Fence children played inside, think mess and play-station's and school shoes strewn in hallways. Baby Picket Fence watched ABC children's television with fifty or so of his favourite toys tucked in around him. Miss Teen Picket Fence had a girlfriend around and they disappeared into the bathroom with a bottle of vibrant purple hair dye, think giggles and mess with a capital M. I however, played with my camera and my packet of Chocolate Royals for a long long time and it was just plain lovely :) Think children and teenagers and mess and housework blissfully ignored. We were all happy!
   Mr Picket Fence arrived home (from his not so Picket Fence job) and shook his head, mess and Picket Fence children everywhere, some with purple hair; and a mummy photographing chocolate Royals . 
We've been married a long time now and Mr Picket Fence has witnessed many funny and somewhat inexplicable  things, but this was the litmus test. He paused, stepped over the discarded school bags on the floor, kissed baby Picket Fence and his fifty favourite toys on the head ( as you do with children's favoured toys)  and grabbed a handful of biscuits. "I love you" he said "I love this" he added. I realised then that we really do have a Picket Fence kind of marriage and that that was incredibly wonderful :)
Hoping you have a gorgeous weekend, that you can get out into the fresh air with the ones you love, I'm planning on painting the legs of a table. But first to tidy up this Picket Fence house. Chocolate Royal anyone ?

A Collection Of Bottles

 Welcome :) This is a quick post to say hello and show you pictures of some bottles Ive been playing with. Yes I hear you groan, "But we've all seen old bottles" but these have a story.
Mr Picket Fence does a lot of gardening type jobs and one of his very elderly clients became unwell and sadly, passed away. What was sadder, was that his son was too busy to go through his fathers meagre possessions and, hence paid Mr Picket Fence to dispose of them "Keep whatever you like and send the rest to the tip " :(
I'm sure you will agree that this was a difficult thing to hear, so when Mr Picket Fence arrived with the contents of this mans life in the back of his truck, a few things had to be rescued. Some picture frames and books, a few pot plants and several tea chests full of "Mason Agee" jars and bottles were pulled out. I could see this man had loved his collection and grubby as it was, it needed to be given the respect it deserved. It had to stay, and so, we welcomed his collection, mud and cobwebs and all, into the Picket Fence family.
So I spent two days washing and scrubbing and shining bottles. The Picket Fence children gave up on dinner and Mr Picket Fence just smirked a little as he came in to find I'd blocked the sink (again) with mud from the said treasure. But this was important, I wanted to give these bottles the show they deserved, I wanted to give this man the respect he deserved, and so, clean his bottles I would. I wanted to make things right. I was a woman on a mission ;)
So even though he never got to see the sun glint off his collection, you my Picket Fence Friends will get to ooh and ahhh and say how nice they look. There are a lot more to do, but this is their show. I dearly hope that you can read blogs in heaven :) I'm sure he's a follower xx
A little scratched up but lovely with carnations :)
I personally love both these bottles, lovely and big with gorgeous graphics.
Golden circle does babies breath :)
Beer and roses.
And this one is just for him...just a bottle xx
I feel better now, I'll tonight finish the rest of his bottles. I'm keeping the "Agee Mason" jars and the cordial bottles, the others I'm not sure of what to do. For now they'll sit all sparkly and clean in the darkness of my cupboard, perhaps dreaming of the day they got all spiffed up and had their show.
Thanks for sharing it with me , I'm sure he'd be proud. See you soon :)

We Love Australian Small Towns

 Hello Picket Fence Friends, I hope you had a fabulous weekend ? Hasn't the weather been just perfect ?
 It was a sunny day here, and the Picket Fence kids and I were feeling a little restless. We lured Mr Picket Fence away from his work and out on a day trip, and, with the promise of hot food in the sunshine, he was easily led :)   After some scenic country driving we landed at a gorgeous quiet little country town called Cobargo . Hot chips attended, we made our way down the prettiest street. Hard not to love a view like this.
Gorgeous old buildings.
Loads of signage( Did you guess I have a font fetish ? xx )
The Picket Fence girls shared a laugh with a local lady. I think she enjoyed our visit !
I loved these old apothecary jars. They sit in an old "Pears" advertising cupboard  proudly in the window of the town pharmacy .
More signage :) Did someone say font ?
This shop sits empty, long closed, but as far as shop names go ...it takes first prize. Love it :) "No Wife No Horse No Moustache" (I'm told based on an American film "Flirtation Walk" )
We made our way home and I was pleased to squeeze into the car, some new additions to the Picket Fence Fancy home. Some more enamel  to add to my clutter and this pretty sixties stool , love its swirly iron legs xx
 This week, thanks to the magical talent of my friend Happy Loves Rosie, I have gathered some new bits and bots for my page, I hope you take a look around and please feel free to leave a comment, because I do love comments xx
  Oh and please join me on  Facebook  I,d love to chat to you there ! The Flickr thing is a work in progress...bare with me on that, I'll get to it, I promise :) Have a great week, take care and looking forward to catching up   soon

My Camera Lens Protector (Stubby Holders Go Shabby)

Hello gorgeous Picket Fence Friends :) How are you?
This week I've been busy doing all sorts of bits and pieces, but today I thought you might like to see my latest idea. I seem to have collected a lot of camera lenses. I love them, they are useful and not to mention expensive, but they kind of bang together in my camera bag and I was worried that they would get chipped or scratched or worse :(

After some mulling I came up with the idea of stubby holders. Perfect to insulate against the hard knocks of camera bag jostling, they are pretty much the right size for most of my lenses . Hmmm but they're not classy are they ? With a few in my bag, I'd risk looking like a total party girl huh..? So rather than let my secret party habits out of the bag per say :) I thought I'd cover the offensive foam with some pretty fabric and wool.

 Here's how I started..... I felted the top to make it hard wearing as this is the area that gets rubbed as your lens gets put away.

As you can see, a simple blanket stitch does the job ( forgive my atrocious sewing ... I'm so much better with a staple gun !)

And the bottom ( the Picket Fence Girls were so supportive "Don't worry Mummy , It doesn't need to be Perfect!" lol )

I think it looks pretty awesome.....I really want to do a red one now....but Mr Picket Fence has hidden his stubby holder so I'll have to buy my own :)
 Oh and I think these would look rather nice wrapped around a cold tin as well ! I'm off to try and learn a decent blanket stitch ;)
Be seeing you xx

Mothers Day At The Beach With The Picket Fencer's And My Lensbaby xx

Well Hello Picket Fence Friends :)
I'm hoping you had a gorgeous Mothers Day and got to indulge in a little sleeping in,some chocolate tasting and loads of "Warm as sunshine" cuddles from those you love :) Yep this includes you non mothers as well because as I mentioned before in my gorgeous-pink-camera-strap-cover review, Mothers Day is kind of a feel-good-lovely day for all.
Well, this Picket Fence Mother did rather nicely even if do I say so myself :) Hand drawn flowers covered in crinkled up coloured tissue paper and the obligatory "Best Mum Ever" coffee mug, some yummy  chocolates from Miss Teen Picket Fence and... wait for it... a lensbaby muse lens for my camera.... Wow Mr Picket Fence ;) However did you guess ??
With 4 children under foot, Mr Picket Fence, as much as he adores the said young ones, feels very grateful he doesn't have to do the bulk of the work with them....therefore on  Mothers Day I usually do rather nicely .... No need to change things yet !

So, as it was a fine day and unusually warm for Autumn, we took ourselves down to the beach to try out our new baby.
My real baby Picket Fencer decided today was his day to be clingy, so much of it I spent with a lurch  ( as you do when you have a two year old attached to your leg.)
 The lensbaby (lensbaby.com) takes some really arty shots, you kind of squeeze and tilt it to choose your focused area and associated blurred bits (Kind of like real life really, don't you think ? Wishing I had a lensbaby in my mirror now !)

I was pleasantly surprised with the effects, had loads of fun, and with practice I think I will use it for taking the Picket Fence family portrait. (Of course the Picket Fence children promised they wouldn't get wet ;)
 It was a beautiful day,full of love and laughter and after all this fun, what more could I want but a warm bath , hot fire and you betcha
"God bless him" Mr Picket Fence ordered takeaway for dinner. He's a keeper xx
It's a busy Picket Fence week ahead ......our little town has its annual Oyster Festival Narooma Oyster Festival  ( think food and wine ) and my youngest Picket Fencers are in it's lantern parade ...Promise I will catch up soon xx
(Linking up  with Sarah from A Beach Cottage for her Wednesday link party)