HOW TO MAKE THE ULTIMATE CHEESE PLATTER

Can you believe spring has sprung here in Aus? Bring on the gorgeous weather!

To get you inspired to try something new this spring, I’m really excited to have partnered with the guys at Woolworths to bring you a week of fun entertaining tips and ideas! I’ve also tried my hand at video content for the first time on Craft Hunter and I hope you’ll love it.

First up, I am sharing my pointers for the ultimate cheese platter.  A topic close to my heart!

how to make the ultimate cheese platterCheese platter tips from Fiona Michelon

Cheese platters are absolutely the best go-to when you have guests to entertain. They’re easy to pull together, look impressive and, I mean, who doesn’t love cheese?!

The perfect cheese platter is all about a good mix of cheese, fresh fruit and savoury nibbles.  If you’re not on the fruit and cheese bandwagon yet – you need to give it a go and I think you’ll find your life will be forever changed! Try a bit of sliced pear, fig, grapes, and add some tasty fruit paste or quince – they work really well with strong cheeses and create a magical balance of flavours.

Nibbles like pretzels, nuts, olives and dips are always a great idea too. The perfect cheese platter needs to stay moreish and the best way to do that is with a mix of delicious options.

These fruits and nibbles will make the platter extra special, but we all know that the heart of a good cheese plater is the cheeeese! My biggest tip – go for a variety. I always include at least:

  • 1 blue cheese (I recommend the Stilton Blue from the Woolies Gold range which is the one in these pics)
  • 1 hard cheese like a cheddar (try the Oak Smoked Cheddar from the Woolies Gold range too – so good)
  • 1 soft cheese like camembert or brie

HOW TO MAKE THE ULTIMATE CHEESE PLATTER! YUMM

 

Don’t keep your guests guessing what they’re about to eat. Adding little name flags to your cheeses is a fun touch and will take you less than 5 minutes. Print out the cheese names on some plain paper, cut into mini banner shapes and just sticky tape to some toothpicks. Instantly takes your cheese platter to pro status!

 

DIY name flags for your cheese platterDIY name flags for your cheese platterdiy cheese platter flags

 

If your friends love cheese as much as mine, more is more, so don’t take up precious platter room with your crackers. Instead serve them on the side so your guests have plenty of room to get stuck into the goodness. I love slicing up a fresh baguette on the side too – nothing beats a big piece of cheese on fresh bread – yum!

 

HOW TO MAKE THE ULTIMATE CHEESE PLATTER! YUMM

 

Hope these tips have left your mouth watering and you’re keen to experiment a little with your next platter.

What do you love to put on your cheese platters?

Fiona x

Images and video by Esperanza Creative
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Woolworths. I only work with brands and products that I personally think are truly awesome, so thanks for supporting the companies who make my Craft Hunter journey possible!

HOMES+ MAGAZINE SPRING DIY’S

Yesterday I squealed in the supermarket like a frenzied little girl. The latest issue of Homes+ Magazine is out and the DIY projects I put together for them look INCREDIBLE after Jackie Brown worked her styling magic on them. Feeling an urgent desperation to buy a bunch of lovely blue things for my house now.

DIY Triangle Cushions in Homes+ MagazineDIY Leather woven baskets and plywood pegboard shelves

I’ve wanted to try my hand at some triangle shaped cushions for a while so was glad to finally get that one out of my system.

The wooden plant stand, leather woven baskets and pegboard shelves were all inspired by homeware items I’ve seen for sale elsewhere and thought “I could totally make that”… and this is where probably where 90% of my tutorial ideas actually come from! You should try thinking this way too – next time you spot a nice item in store, think about how it was made and if it would be easy to replicate at home. I think you’ll be surprised how many expensive-looking things are easy to pull together if you just have a go. Then you’ll have a beautiful item at home that you can look at with pride knowing that you made that with your own blood sweat and tears (..ok maybe not tears…probably just sweat).

For the full step by step tutorials of these pretties and more, pick up the September issue of Homes+ mag in shops now or you can buy it online at  Zinio (my new fave site for reading online).

Also if you download the Viewa app on your smartphone, you can scan the magazine’s page to load to the how-to video where you can see my crafty hands in action.

Fiona x

(All images from Homes+ magazine. Photographed by Andrew Finlayson and James Henry)
 

DIY wooden plant holder

 

2 MINUTE GUIDE TO MYKONOS

2 minute guide to mykonos2 MINUTE GUIDE TO MYKONOS - My tips and pointers for an awesome holiday2 MINUTE GUIDE TO MYKONOS - My tips and pointers for an awesome holiday

Mykonos was by far one of my fave places from my recent big trip to Europe. Aside from the obvious sun, sand and cocktails that make any holiday a blast, there is something really majestic and completely captivating about the Greek Islands. The hundreds of perfect white buildings scattered across gorgeous shorelines with bright blue doors and bougainvillea for days – it’s unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else in the world.

Despite it’s reputation, Mykonos is definitely not just a party island, nor is it designated for the gay community. My boyfriend and I spent 5 days in this beautiful place and had the most amazing time, barely touching a beach club or cocktail.

Here’s a few recommendations from me on where to stay and what to do while in this magnificent part of the planet.

 

WHAT TO DO:

1. Explore the Old Town (also known as Mykonos Town and Chora). Never will you find a place so photogenic in your life. Be prepared to spend here too, there are endless little boutiques jammed with treasures.

2 MINUTE GUIDE TO MYKONOS - My tips and pointers for an awesome holiday2 Minute guide to Mykonos

2.  Hire yourself a scooter or quad bike and get exploring. There are so many incredible beaches and road-side pit stops to be found. My fave beaches were Ornos and Nammos (the “it” beach where you will most likely spot celebs – be prepared to spend a lot here though)

Mykonos Streets - A 2 MINUTE GUIDE TO MYKONOSMykonos Cactus2 Minute Guide To Mykonos

3. Spend (at least) one day embracing cocktails in the sun.

I recommend checking out Kalua beach club at Paraga Beach. Also Super Paradise Beach (below) if you’re up for a bit more action  (it is predominantly gay men, but you’ll know you’re up for a fun dance!) If you’re more of a spring chicken, you’ll probably love Tropicana Beach Club at Paradise Beach.

Super Paradise Beach Club

4. Eat a Gyros. Once per day if possible.

mykonos

5. Watch the sun go down over dinner at Little Venice. I highly recommend this below little joint called Nice n Easy which is located around from Little Venice, at the bottom of the hill at the windmills. Deliciously healthy food and prime view.

2 MINUTE GUIDE TO MYKONOS - My tips and pointers for an awesome holiday

6. Go beach hopping along the southern coast. There is a ferry which leaves hourly from Ornos and Platis Yialos, and visits each of the southern beaches and then back again. Perfect way to visit a few beaches in a day, especially as the drive via bus or scooter is actually quite lengthy due to there being no coastal road. The views are obviously amazing too – cheapest scenic cruise you’ll ever go on!

Mykonos Streets - A 2 MINUTE GUIDE TO MYKONOS

7. Get yourself an ice cream from Davinci Gelato in Mykonos Town. Trust me!

Mykonos gelato

 

WHERE TO STAY:

Personally I would recommend staying by one of the bigger beaches, so that after dark you can easily head out for a bite to eat and go for an easy swim first thing in the morning. There are hotels right in Mykonos Town too, which would be cool as another option, but personally I prefer to stay by the beach and travel the 10 minutes to town for just a few visits.

If you’re heading in peak time, which is around July/August, make sure you book well in advance if you want to nab one of the great hotels, they book up fast!

 

GETTING AROUND:

Hiring a scooter or quad bike is definitely the easiest form of transport and gives you the freedom to visit anywhere anytime. If you are getting a quad bike I recommend trying to get one with a storage compartment on the back – makes life so much easier!

From each of the main beaches there are buses that run up to Mykonos Town every half an hour, so don’t feel pressured to hire a scooter or quad bike if you don’t want to.

 

If you’re wondering about the recent Greek banks crisis, we didn’t notice a thing while there. All ATMs were up and running, everyone was beyond friendly and local businesses were booming. Just bring smaller notes when you go shopping in case stores don’t have change for you.

Let me know down below if you have any other pointers for a Mykonos holiday! I’d love to hear what treasures you found.

Fiona x

PS For those interested, I tried out the Olympus Pen E-P5 for majority of these pics. I didn’t feel like lugging around my big camera so this little guy was perfect – highly recommend! The only recommendation I have would be to opt for a lens with zoom capabilities, I went with a 17mm f1.8 lens which was still awesome, but sometimes you want to zoom in to the good stuff, ya know?

Olympus Pen E-p5

 

PRINTABLE GIFT BOX WITH MAKE AND TELL

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

While I’m off galavanting around Europe (tough times!) I have the lovely Steph from Make and Tell blog sharing this super awesome printable gift box idea. Obsessing over these prints!! Steph is a fellow craft blogger from my home town Sydney – you might remember the printable donut bags she shared here before?

If you’re interested, you can keep up to date with all of my travel adventures over on my Instagram account, and stay tuned for a bombard of posts here when I return! Until then, stay cool friends and over to you Steph….


I don’t know about you, but I can never have too many gift wrapping short-cuts at the ready. I’m always doing things last minute (eek!) and often find myself rushing out the door, unwrapped gift in one hand and a roll of gift wrap in the other (intending to wrap said gift in the car, which never turns out well).

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

As you can probably tell then, having a stash of boxes on hand for those last minute gift-wrapping situations is essential for both my presents and my sanity. And I’ve been loving the eye/hand/lip print trend, so I just had to design these little guys with lots of bold prints. These boxes are super easy to make and the end result is bright and fun, so why not grab some cardboard and follow along!

Materials

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

Step 1

Download the gift box printable and print it onto white card. Cut out each of the boxes using scissors or a craft knife.

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

Step 2

Using a ruler and scorer, score along the white lines on each box and then fold the box along the lines you scored.

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

Step 3

Stick down each of the side tabs using glue or double-sided tape.

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

DIY eye, lips and hand gift boxes

Once you’ve stuck the tabs down, your gift boxes are done! I have to say, with these babies on hand my gifts should look a lot better than the wrapped-in-car-mess that they usually turn out to be. I hope you find they come in handy for when you next have a birthday party to go to!

xx Steph

MY 30TH BDAY + 6 TIPS FOR THROWING A HOUSE PARTY

craft-hunter-30th-party30th Birthday Party for Craft Hunter blog30th Birthday Party for Craft Hunter blog

Hi all!

You might have seen from my earlier post or via Instagram that I had my 30th birthday party recently, so I wanted to share some more snaps of the party prettiness for you!

After spending too many days looking for the right venue to throw a party which ticked all the boxes, I decided to keep it simple and host a lil party at home before heading out to dance to glorious 80′s and rnb tunes. It was so the right decision and meant I could decorate up a storm, including all of these pretties from Poppies for Grace. (How great are foil number balloons and honeycombs by the way?? Can’t go wrong!) 

30th Birthday Party for Craft Hunter blog30th Birthday Party for Craft Hunter blog30th Birthday Party for Craft Hunter blog

The confetti scattered on the table + the fringed tissue paper garland backdrop is also from the lovely folk at Poppies For Grace. I picked up the mason drink jars from The Reject Shop at a bargain price of $1.25 each (I know!) If you like them make sure you check out my pineapple cocktail jar tutorial here.

The little fruit toppers are from my paper goods business The Chaos Club too – was fun getting a chance to play with them properly!  I also transformed a wicker basket into a champagne ice bucket with a bit of gold spray paint which worked a treat. You can check out more pics of this here.

I can’t remember the last time I threw a house party but I was determined to make this one my most organised event in history.  As the universe would have it, I ended up getting a head cold of epic proportions and everything turned out to be a bit of a last minute frantic mess, but the good news is I learnt a few things which will be golden tips for next time, and for anyone looking to throw their own house party soon!

6 Tips for throwing a house party

1 – GET THE CLEANING DONE EARLY

I TOTALLY underestimated how much extra time it would take to clean a house to be 100% perfect in every nook and cranny.  Get the house spotless at least a few days prior to the party, then you only need to worry about touch ups on the day.

2 – BUY LOTS OF BOOZE, AND THEN BUY MORE

If you’re providing all the drinks, stock up your shopping trolley until you think you have too much, and then add lots more. Also, house parties have an uncanny way of making people want to do many many shots – don’t forget to pick up something ready for spontaneous celebratory moments.

3 – DECORATE EARLY

It’s amazing how long it can take to set up decorations. They look so innocent in the box all pretty-like, but don’t be fooled friends. Especially things like honeycomb clusters and photo backdrops/wall coverings! I did all of this the night before the party and still spent hours the day of.

4 – PREPARE A PLAYLIST

Don’t just wing it on the night and listen to random playlists. You’ll end up like me, finding yourself listening to Christina Aguleria accidentally and suddenly having grave concerns for your street cred. Spend half an hour and put 50-70 songs into a new playlist. If you use Spotify too it really is so super easy.

5 – PRINT YOUR COCKTAIL RECIPES

I had grand plans to make some delightful cocktails and actually spent quite a bit of time researching recipes and made sure to buy all the right ingredients. But on the night the cocktail jugs turned out to be a fruit punch reminiscent of my backpacking London times because there was so much going on. Printed cocktail recipes would have definitely worked a charm.

6 – NEVER UNDERESTIMATE FAIRY LIGHTS

I bought a huge string of 500 fairy lights from Bunnings and hung them inside and also from the celing and balcony rails outside, and it totally transformed the space into a sparkly happy land. I can’t recommend them enough.

Hope these little tips help you with a house party one day!

Well I’m off now on a 3.5 week holiday around Europe (eeee!!) so the posts may not be too frequent this month, but you can stay up to date via my Instagram account for all the travel shenanigans!

Fiona x

PINEAPPLE COCKTAIL JARS

DIY Pineapple Mason Jar CocktailsDIY Pineapple Mason Jar CocktailsDIY Pineapple Mason Jar Cocktails

I had my 30th birthday party last weekend and these mason jars from The Reject Shop were such a hit! They worked out to only $1.25 each and were super fun to drink cocktails from – even the guys got on board.

The jars are rather awesome on their own, but in my standard style I wanted to add a fruity touch so have transformed some into little pineapples! They’d look so great all ready to go on a party table filled with pina coladas, don’t ya think?

I also really wanted to make a champagne ice bucket that was a bit different. I found these lovely wicker storage baskets at The Reject Shop too for only $20 and with a bit of gold spray paint around the bottom and a bucket inserted inside, it was perfect. (and bonus, I can now use this as a plant pot holder around the home!)

wicker champagne ice bucket

Check out the step by step guide below to make your own pineapple jars and for more pics of the party + tips for throwing your own house party, check out my other post here. 

Fiona x

SUPPLIES-BAR

  • Mason Drink Jars from The Reject Shop ($5 per pack of 4)
  • Green paper
  • Green paint + paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun or craft glue

GET-YOUR-CRAFT-ON

Start by painting your lids the same colour as your paper. I gave mine two coats and let it dry in between.

pineapple cocktail jars

Cut a strip of paper which is approx 6cm wide, and start snipping into it from one side to start forming wide leaf shapes which are around 2-3cm high. Don’t worry about making it perfect, pineapples leaves are supposed to look uneven! Make each leaf touch at the bottom like this, and leave yourself at least a cm underneath for you to glue to your lid later.

pineapple cocktail jars

Next make slight fold marks in between each leaf so it’s easy to manipulate later, and also make one long fold line at the base of the leaves. Also snip tiny triangles out from under each fold line – this makes it easier to wrap around later.

pineapple cocktail jars

Now to make a strip of longer leaves. On a strip of paper approx 12cm wide, start cutting long leaves which are around 2 x 10cm. Cut 4-5 of them, then make your paper piece shorter by 2-3cm. Cut another 4-5 slightly shorter leaves, then do the same – cut your strip down by 2-3cm and cut the remaining leaves.

pineapple cocktail jars

You should be left with two pieces like this.

pineapple cocktail jars

Now to just glue them to your lids! Make sure your paint is dry first though.

Start with your smaller leaves, in your hand curl them around so they’re ready to be placed.

pineapple cocktail jars

 

Add some glue to the bottom of the tabs and place on the lid.

pineapple cocktail jars

Do the same with the longer leaves, curling it around so the longer leaves sit in the middle of the spiral.

To finish it off, use your finger to slightly curl the paper leaves outward to make them look a bit more like natural leaves.

Fill with your fave tropical drink!  Here’s one of my fave pina colada recipes if you’re interested!

DIY Pineapple Mason Jar Cocktails

DIY Pineapple Mason Jar Cocktails

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with The Reject Shop. I only work with products which I think are totally awesome. Thanks for supporting the brands who make this Craft Hunter journey possible!