My Collected Home

Vintage. Eclectic. Repurposed.

Chicken with roasted cherry tomatoe and basil sauce, so quick and using only 6 ingredents

It's a glorious warm day here in my part of the world. As it gets hotter I like to cook easy and quick meals because it gets very hot in the kitchen and who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen? Not me!
I have a number of main course recipes that have few ingredients but are full of flavour. Would you like a recipe that everyone loves using only 6 ingredients? I have one for you today called Chicken with roasted cherry tomato and basil sauce. This recipe uses fresh herbs that I picked from my garden and even my grandchildren love it, it's so creamy and delicious! My whole family loves me making this when we have "get togethers". It's super quick so I can spend the time with them and not in the kitchen. 

 This recipe is for 4 people so double it for more. Here are the 6 ingredients you need to make this delicious meal:


Chicken with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Sauce



     500 grams cherry tomatoes
     5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
     2 tablespoons olive oil
     4 x 200 grams breast fillets
     1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
     1/4 cup (60 ml) cream


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius or 180 degrees fan- forced.

2. Combine tomatoes, garlic and oil in large shallow baking dish. Roast uncovered about 20 mins. or until tomatoes soften.  When garlic is cool enough to handle, peel,

3. Meanwhile cook chicken on heated oiled grill plate (or grill or barbecue) until cooked through. Cover: stand 5 minutes

4. Blend or process garlic and half the tomatoes until smooth. Place in medium saucepan with basil and cream: cook, stirring over low heat, until heated through. Serve chicken topped with sauce and remaining tomatoes.

Mashed Potato, rice or pasta, spinach or beans are all great accompaniments to this quick and easy main course.
I personally love Parmesan mash or mash with Greek yoghurt (in place of cream or milk) and whatever greens I have on hand. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you'd like to try Parmesan Mash, boil 1kg. potatoes. When cooked mash until smooth then stir in 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 40g soft butter  and 3/4 cup of hot milk.


What do you think? Try it, I'm sure your family and friends will love it! Happy cooking! 

Fall Decorations, Three easy projects

I've been looking at Pinterest and Instagram and seeing all the beautiful fall decorations. The thing is where I live it is spring! I haven't seen any spring decor only autumn or fall as some call it.
I decided to join the throng and make my own fall decor. I suppose the way the weather has been worldwide, heat waves in autumn, hot winters in Oz, floods and fires, anything goes!

I don't have any pumpkins, real or fake, we don't decorate for our seasons as much as our northern counterparts, so I'm using colourful autumn leaves to decorate. I must admit I love the velvet pumpkins. I went to a fabric shop to buy some velvet for another project and because of our hot climate they don't stock velvet! I was not impressed to say the least! I will probably order some online.

I have three quick and easy fall decorations to share that I made using these leaves. These are the supplies you will need to make them:

Finished wreath

               For Wreath

A Packet of fall leaves from the $2 shop
Hessian (burlap) roll
Hot glue gun or similar

               For Branches with fall leaves

Branches. I got mine from a tree in my backyard
Leaves (as above)
Glue or hot glue gun 

               For Welcome Sign

A piece of scrap wood
Leaves (as above)
Stenciled or stick on letters
Roll of hessian ribbon or wire
White homemade chalk paint

For the wreath I started with an old plastic covered wire coat hanger bent to the shape that I wanted. I used the hessian roll to wind around the coat hanger

Plastic covered wire coat hanger

Starting to roll hessian (burlap) onto hanger
I had already made a garland with twine and I glued the leaves onto the twine as shown 

Leaf garland
I then wrapped this garland around the wreath but you can simply glue the leaves straight onto the hessian wrapped coat hanger. 

As you can see above these are the branches I cut from a tree in my backyard and using the same leaves I glued them onto the branch where I wanted them.

Branches with glued on leaves

 The welcome sign was made using a scrap piece of wood to which I gave a very light coat of white chalk paint. I then wrapped a 2" piece of hessian (burlap) around one end and glued the leaves to it. I had a piece of ribbon left over from another project and I simply nailed it onto the back of the timber. I nailed it a part of the way through and bent the last bit of the nail over with the hammer. I did this because I didn't want it to come all the way through the piece of wood and hammered it over so it wouldn't stick out.

Welcome sign

Sorry this picture is sideways and I know a few of the letters are wonky but I quite like it like that.

I hope you enjoyed the fall decorations, I had fun doing them and they were really easy to do. If you make any I would love to see them. Have a great day  

Hanging mobile for babies or adults

Hi everyone! I haven't posted in awhile because I caught that nasty flu that was hitting everyone and then Bronchitis. I still feel unwell but I'm getting there. I'm going to do something a bit different today, something I've been thinking about for awhile. I have had an old lampshade frame kicking around and decided it was time I did something about it. 

I'm going to show you how I made this mobile from bits and pieces I had in my fabric stash. It's a hanging mobile and it can be made for babies and adults too. It has a sort of boho shabby style to it! It's not hard, I'm sure anyone could do it. If I can, you can, believe me! 

. Lampshade frame
. Strips of fabric
. Ribbons
. Strips of lace
. Glue
. Faux flowers
. Pearls
. Raffia or similar to hang chandelier

1. Firstly I cut the strips of fabric 2" in width. I started tying the strips of lace, fabric etc around the base of the frame. I tied them the same way as you tie a tie! I did mine in staggered lengths but you can have them all the same length if you desire.
As you can see in this following picture I took some of the strips of calico and folded them over the top. I pinned them first to keep them in place and then I glued them around the top of the frame

Lampshade frame

Frame with strips of fabric, ribbon and lace

As you can see I've used strips of calico, strips of an old sheer curtain that I had and a couple of different ribbons for variety. I took pieces of the calico and pinned them to the top of the frame

I was designing this as I went because I hadn't made a mobile before and had so many ideas running around in my head. 
I was trying to decide what I could use to put around the base and the top of the frame. Finally I found this burlap type ribbon in my stash and glued it around the bottom of the frame. I was thinking of stitching it on but I glued it first with fabric glue and thought I would see how well it held. Being a mobile for my grandaughter it wouldn't be played with so I think it will be ok.

Here it is with the ribbon and flowers added but I wanted to add a bit of something to the top of the frame as well. I love pearls with burlap and calico and I happened to have a half inch wide pearls on a band which was perfect

Well, here is the finished product. What do you think of my hanging mobile? Would you make it for a baby or adult? Thankfully my grandaughter loved it and so did Mum! I've had a request from another daughter for a boys mobile for my youngest grandchild. She wants the colours electric? blue, teal and mint green. I think she means a cobalt blue which is one of my favourite blues. I've seen it called a few different names but to me it's cobalt blue!

I hope this has inspired you to create your own hanging mobile for your own grandchildren or even as a gift to an adult, someone special. I think many people appreciate something that is hand made where a lot of heart and soul has been put into it. It has more meaning.

Enjoy your week everyone and keep safe.

Table Centrepieces, 7 simple, easy and inexpensive ideas

Hi there everyone. It's winter here in Queensland and we've had temperatures of 27 degrees (celsius)! It hasn't really felt like winter which I love because I hate the cold. I know I say that a lot! Sorry! In a few more weeks it will be spring which is one of my favourite times of the year. Flowers and trees blooming and nothing is nicer than having beautiful flowers in the home. Life in Queensland is very casual and we do most of our entertaining outside on the patio or deck taking advantage of our  beautiful sunshine and gardens.

Anyway I was picking some lovely pink roses from my garden and decided to put them on my dining table which started me thinking about table centrepieces.

I thought I'd share with you some of my ideas for simple and affordable table centrepieces. Sometimes for special occasions I might do something a bit more elaborate but mostly I like to stick to simple. 

I have 7 quick and easy styles to show you, that anyone can do, even with no money! I've been reading quite a lot lately about simplifying our lives and getting rid of unnecessary items. I have made one rule in my home and that is if I haven't used it in 6 months then I don't need it. It is amazing how getting rid of excess can free our minds and emotions too. I've been slowly purging my cupboards and wardrobes of what I rarely use. I find as I get older comfortable and casual is more important than glamorous. That's who I am and who I've always been so why change myself?  I can't believe some of the clothes I have kept for "when I lose weight"! Ha! I decided if it hasn't happened in 10 years it's probably not going to happen at all!  Does anyone else do this? Kitchen items? I have a cupboard full of serving plates and dishes that I keep for "good". Not anymore! Instead of having them sit and take up space I have kept a few and use them daily. It makes me feel rather grand eating a meal off my "good" plates! Table centrepieces? Again simple and inexpensive. I love going outside and picking flowers or branches to use as centrepieces. I also love using recycled items and turning them into something beautiful. It feeds my creative side and I love creating on a daily basis

Without further ado I'll show you my ideas!



I painted the 3 cans with blue homemade chalk paint then tied a piece of twine around them. I've taken a couple of pictures of how I made the board that they're sitting on. It's and old piece of timber I had on hand and covered it with blue burlap which I also painted with white chalk paint. I wanted it to look "distressed" so didn't cover it completely with paint

As you can see from the picture I cut the burlp 2" bigger than the board then cut and folded it. It actually reminded me of covering my school books, back in the dark ages!


This was really easy to put together. I placed a mixture of shells in the bottom of the vase, wrapped burlap then white rope around the candle and glued a shell to the rope. The base was a concrete pot plant holder that I paid $1 for at KMart. I had a container of the blue glass stones and decided to use them to give it that beachy vibe.



Again I used a tin which I painted gold and added faux flowers. I sat it inside 2 gold frames that I already had from the thrift store


This is a farmhouse style container that I found at the thrift store. I'd already distressed it with white homemade chalk paint, then I cut out a piece of burlap, frayed the edges by using a pin or toothpick and pulled a few threads out. I stuck it on with concrete glue and then stuck the word plants on but you could write whatever you like on it. Quick and easy


These are the pretty pink roses I cut from my garden and put them in a blue glass. You can't get much simpler than that!


Again a brass vase I found on a recent thrift store visit with yellow flowers. It's funny but I'm not really a fan of yellow which is strange because I love the sun. If it's cloudy for a few days with no sun I tend to get a bit depressed. Ah well it's a girl's prerogative!


This is a soup tureen that I broke the lid on so decided to pop a plant from Ikea in it and use it as a centrepiece. No work needed on this!

I hope you like my ideas and maybe try some for yourself. Have a great weekend everyone

Napkin Rings from Toilet Rolls

Good morning everyone. It's a beautiful day here in sunny Queensland.  Today I wanted to share with you my napkin rings  that I made.   I have a few birthday dinners coming up which started me thinking about table decor. I went to a few of my favourite shops to check out prices for napkin rings. There were a couple I loved but when I started to add up all of the items I would need for the table it was going to cost more than I wanted to spend. As you know I hate throwing anything out and I love to recycle and upcycle so I started looking through my supplies trying to come up with some diy ideas.  One thing I have plenty of and I'm quite sure I'm not alone in this is toilet paper tubes! I had the idea to cut these up to make the basis of my napkin rings. Because the birthdays were for different ages I ended up making 3 different styles of napkin rings.

The first thing I did was cut the cardboard tubes into 1 inch rings. 

I had on hand some burlap which was exactly the right width for my first napkin ring. I measured how much I would need and glued it onto the cardboard tube with cement glue. This stuff sticks to anything!

To give it a bit of pizzazz I added pearls around the middle of the tube. It comes in a small roll and was really easy to glue onto the burlap.   

Pink felt and pink stone
Beach style napkin rings

Burlap & Pearl napkin holder

I like the simplicity of this napkin holder, I'm not really a frills and lace type of girl. I know not everyone agrees, so I've made the next napkin ring slightly more feminine.

This napkin ring I covered in pink felt and yes, a piece of jewellery from earings that I owned.  I'm always losing one earing, so I have kept the ones I have left to use in DIY crafts such as this.

I also wanted to make napkin rings that are more casual in style and what could be more casual than the beach! I have a grandson who likes to surf so I thought these would be just the thing. I made this one using card stock which is thicker than paper and more sturdy. I then glued on a shell from my collection and voila! Beach style napkin holders. We are all beach lovers in my family so I know I will get a lot of use from them.

If you have toilet paper rolls give this a try, it's super cheap and super easy and we're doing our little bit to recycle instead of throwing them out. Have a great weekend everyone, till next time

5 Tips On How To Decorate With Faux Flowers

Hi there all. I'm excited to share with you today some tips in using faux flowers to decorate. For me flowers mean Spring which I'm so looking forward to. Spring means summer is near! 
I love plants and flowers but flowers die and unfortunately I don't have a green thumb so often my plants die as well. This is where my faux plants and flowers come in.
Years ago faux flowers and plants looked fake. I hate anything fake so I didn't use them in my decor.
Today more and more plants and flowers are looking so real that I honestly couldn't tell the difference. Unfortunately there are also many that still look fake, that's why knowing where to shop is a time saver.
One shop that sells realistic looking flowers and plants is Ikea. Good old Ikea, where would we be without them! They are also priced very reasonably. 
I've seen some lovely faux plants in many shops but they've been too expensive for my budget. Now even our $2 shops are stocking some, not all, but some very real looking flowers. KMart is also producing faux plants that look quite real.

The photo below is showcasing two faux plants and flowers.
The plant on the wicker chair is from KMart and the flowers are from a $2 shop. Do you think they look real?


The pot plant is called string of beads but I'm not too sure what the name of the flowers are.

These  faux plants are in a $1 wooden box from Salvos that I attached some hessian (burlap) to and used on the top of my vintage wicker baskets from my local thrift store.
I don't have to worry about the usual things with real plants such as enough light and water and I love that!

I also used the faux succulents in another post recently

This faux plant and base is also from KMart. It sits happily on my dining table.  My dining area faces west so gets a lot of hot afternoon Queensland sun which is hard on plants. Not with this plant!

This cute little plant with flowers was from my local thrift store. You can see my beach style entry and prices for my thrift store finds here.

The small blue box that you see peaking out was a $1.50 find from the Salvation Army which I distressed. It's a handy box to have at the entry to keep keys and change or whatever you wish.

This is where my desk sits with it's gold decor.  I simply spray painted a recycled tin and added some faux silk flowers

With the gold framed mirror and 2 gold frames it adds a nice touch and took literally minutes to put together

Here is the entry to my home again. You may have seen it in an earlier post that I mentioned before

My 5 tips for finding great faux plants is :
1.  Know where to shop for reasonably cheap plants.
2. Learn to discern at a glance what looks cheap and what doesn't.
3. Faux plants don't need watering (yeh!) but they need to be washed from time to time. Nothing looks worse than dusty looking plants. I wash mine in warm water with just a small bit of dishwashing liquid whenever they need it.
4. You can mix real plants with faux plants if you can't find what you need for your display, at a reasonable cost.
5. Make your own plants! There are many great tutorials on Youtube and Pinterest to learn how to make realistic looking plants. I particularly love the cotton stems. They are next on my to do list.

I hope these 5 tips have given you some ideas on using faux plants and flowers. In the northern hemisphere autumn is approaching which is a great time to use them. Then again anytime is good for decorating with plants, I call them living art!

Till next time take care

2 DIY Signs From Recycled Timber

Hi friends, I'm really excited to show you my two diy signs that I made from recycled timber. I love recycled wood or reclaimed wood because no trees had to be cut down again depleting our natural habitats. Anyway I decided to make two because there are two things that I love and that's the beach and vintage style.

Here in Australia it's winter. I do not like winter! I'm seriously waiting for spring to feel alive again! Therefore my first sign is about the beach.

Even if it isn't summer I can at least create something that is summery.
I started off by painting the wood a green/blue colour. While I was waiting for that to dry I picked out some shells from my collection to decorate the sign with.

I decided to stencil the word beach with an old stencil I had. I really need to get some new stencils with larger letters.

When I'd completed the stenciling I added some rope to the back with cement glue. This glue sticks anything! I believe it's one of Martha Stewart's secrets, so how could I go wrong?!

One sign completed!

Beach style sign

The next sign I painted in a creamy white chalk paint which I made adding a small amount of ochre to white.

I had some faux flowers already in my supplies. They're a creamy colour with green leaves and matched perfectly.

For this sign I decided to write welcome and hang it just inside my doorway. I actually ended up using some stick on letters that I had. Roll on new stencils!

Instead of rope I used a type of hessian (burlap) ribbon. I felt it was more in keeping with the vintage style that I was after  

Vintage style sign

If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you. Have a wonderful week, until next time 

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