Friday, 31 August 2012

Toy sack - Making magazine bag supplement

Hello, I've just completed the toy sack from the current issue of Making magazine http://www.facebook.com/pages/Making-magazine/158069764232832 
It was featured in their bag supplement and having some of the green starry material left I thought I'd make one for Williams room. I altered the design slightly and used felt for the bunting and I personalized the design for William by cross stitching his name in rainbow colour order. We love anything rainbow colored in our house. I'm not sure how much use William will get out of it but it looks lovely and it's an extra place to stash soft toys. 
Toy sack - Making magazine bag supplement 

Close up of cross stitched name in rainbow colours 
This has since been featured in Making magazine 'Making views' section. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Summer vegetable minestrone recipe

Summer vegetable minestrone 
Here is my recipe for summer vegetable minestrone.
I must admit it was quite chilly as we took a stroll to feed the in laws fish after dinner tonight. (definitely a touch of autumn in the air) Which is why I'm thankful that we had just eaten a wonderful meal of all that is good and bountiful in the garden.

To make the summer vegetable minestrone you will need: (feeds 4)
1 onion,
2 sticks of celery,
1 Carrot,
1tbsp of olive oil,
1tsp dried sage, 3 leaves of fresh sage,
100g broad beans
50g peas
1 1/2 pints of stock
1 tin of tomatoes
100g small shaped pasta.

Dice the onion, celery and carrot.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the veg for 5 minutes, season well.
Add the dried sage, pour in the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes and the pasta and continue to simmer for a further 8 minutes.
Add the peas and broad beans and cook for a further 2 minutes. 
Finally add the chopped fresh sage. 



Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Back to school, new planner cover

Well the end of the summer holidays looms closer. So the time comes for a new planner and heaven forbid could I cope with the boring cover that it comes with. This year I have gone for a slightly Gothic look. As I wanted to utilize some of my new dies for the Sizzix Big shot I bought recently. I'm note sure what my fellow teachers will think, but I'm sure it'll scare the Year 7's. 


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Afternoon tea


I have come to realize what a lovely occasion afternoon tea is. I'm not saying that I don't eat lovely things on a regular basis but to actually put aside time to sit down and really enjoy a good British afternoon tea is really a delight. Here are some of the treats William and I made for the family afternoon tea. Included are raspberry and lemon curd tarts with sweet shortcrust and extremely vanilla cupcakes with lemon curd butter cream icing. I am also rather pleased with my improving piping skills. What do you think?

Monday, 27 August 2012

Suffolk Puff quick fix for damaged skirt

Here's the problem, one red linen skirt ruined by white board pen which one lovely pupil had thought highly funny to write along the edge of the table so when I lent against it .... 


Here is my solution to the problem. Suffolk puffs which seem to be very popular at the moment. I chosen to make mine from some black satin I had in my stash. 
 I cut three circles from the satin.


I did a running stitch about 3mm from the edge 

Then pulled tight and double knotted. 

I then sewed them onto the skirt with a black button at the centre of each



I then finished of the design with a simple line of running stitch in double thread of black embroidery thread. 



Close up of the finished decoration. You'd never know that the skirt had been damaged in the first place. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sweet herb garden display

When I am unfortunate to be woken as early as my Little one likes to get up, I like nothing better than having a potter around the garden. There is something very peaceful about the early morning garden, too early for the insects and still dew sweet. This is also the best time to pick herbs, as when the sun starts to warm up they loose some of their potency. Also as soon as the bees wake up I can get no where near my lavender. So whilst enjoying my potter this morning I cut some herbs to make this beautiful fragrant display for the kitchen. 
Lavender, rosemary and sage 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Tutorial - how to make fuzzy felt face game

Here's an idea to keep little ones happy. Great for long car journeys or rainy summer days as it can be all stored in a zip lock bag and taken wherever you go.
Here's what to do;
First you will need a section of felt squares in a variety of colours, some card, a pair of scissors and some glue. 
Equipment needed
 First cut out two oval face shapes from the card.
 Then glue onto a piece of skin colored felt. (Or your can use any colour if you wanted to make alien or animal faces) and cut out.
Glue the card ovals onto the skin colored felt
 They should then look like this.

Then using the remaining colored felt cut out different facial features. You can go as mad as you like for this part. 
 Then give them to your three year old to play with....
occupied for at least 20mins.....

Here's William's first creation, me apparently!

Bon Voyage card

Bon Voyage to my little brother who is off today to study for his final year of his Physics degree in Paris. To mark the occasion I made him this card. This is really my foray into card making as it has never really been something that has appealed to me. That said I am really rather pleased with the results. I used some free papers that I had from a craft magazine a while back and cut the letters out with my new big shot die cutting machine. (Which I love by the way). 
Card and matching envelope 

Front of card with raised Paris detail and ribbon decoration 

Envelop with his name cut out using the die cutting machine

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Lactose free American Pancake recipe


Lactose free American Pancake recipe
This recipe makes around ten tea cup sized pancakes. 

50g Self raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp Soya milk
1tbsp oil
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the caster sugar. Make a well in the center and add the egg and the mix and whisk until smooth.
Set aside for a moment and heat the oil in a frying pan.
Once the oil is hot add table spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan round blobs are great or try for other shapes.
Two minutes on both sides should be enough. They should be puffed up and golden brown on both sides when ready. 

Spanish lemon and almond cake recipe

Moist and fragrant. This Spanish inspired cake is a great tea time treat.


I have attempted to recreate the lemon and almond cake we ate whilst on holiday in Spain. The key elements I wanted to capture were the intense lemon flavor, the crunchy almonds on top and the moist cake with lemon curd center. I thought it might take a few attempts to perfect it but I baked this yesterday and it was like being back on holiday. So for those of your that like also like to be transported back to the Costa Blanca or who just want to try and intense lemon cake recipe, here it is....

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Summer holiday shell crafts

Hello, I wonder if other people are like me and after enjoying pleasurably beach combing on holiday you return home and wonder what to do with the piles of shells? William has also got into beach combing and this year we had a large pile of shells. These are a couple of ideas to do with them which will happily occupy you and your little one for at least an hour.
Here's our pile of shells
  First we just laid them out and looked at them - sorting and organizing looking at colour and shapes. 
Then William wanted to make a picture with them. 

This is apparently a picture of me! I think I need to work on my hair if this is what I look like!

Then we sorted all the ones with holes in the middle and William threaded them onto a long cord. A great activity to develop toddlers hand eye co-ordination. Although care must be taken if doing this with really little ones as they could put the shells in their mouth or tangle themselves with the cord.

Threading the shells

The look of concentration
 Whilst William threaded I played around with the spare shells and looked at some different arrangements to mount in a pox frame.
Arrangement 1. All the holey shells

Arrangement 2 four of my favorites
 Once William had finished threading I looped the end of the cord and William hung it on his wardrobe door as a lovely reminder of the holiday. Much better than just dumping them in a box.
The finished piece

Close up

Note: please make sure that it is O.K. to beach comb as some places do not allow you to remove the shells. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Holiday crafting

Hello, We have just returned from our holiday and I am afraid to say it but it's raining. When are we going to return to the summers I remember from my childhood? I'm sure in reality that they didn't stretch on all summer  long as gloriously sunny and hot as I like to remember them. But in a bid to make William's summers something to remember we managed to fit in some pre-holiday craft. 
ready for my holiday
On the first day of the holiday William was greeted by Alonso (hubby named him!), who was to accompany us on holiday and be photographed enjoying all the activities we did. They pictures will make a great accompaniment to the holiday diary we wrote (pictures I posted earlier).  
I also did a quick make and made a new camera case for my digital camera. I am quite pleased with it. I made it out of felt and tried to style it like an old camera I used to own. 

Back of camera case

Front of camera
We also did a bit of baking (naturally) to finish off the eggs before we left and William decided on the decorative theme - Birthday bear Olympics. Wenlock wanted to join in with the icing but it doesn't combine well with his fur.



Finished birthday bear Olympics cake
One of my favorite things on holiday apart from the hot weather and my fantasic tan was the food. One night we bought a great selection of cakes and I would love to re create one cake which was a combination of a lemon drizzle and an almond cake. With the weather looking so rubbish this might be something I work on this week.

 Finally I just thought I'd share some of my favorite ways to display photographs around our home, as I wait to upload my holiday pictures. I love to group selections of images like the one below and Black and white is one of my favorite prints.
I also used the off cuts of wallpaper as a mount to make the print to co-ordinate with a feature wall in the room. Although this wallpaper has long since been replaced. 


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