Monday, 31 October 2011

After Eight Cupcakes

After the baking experiment the other week, I decided to make the After Eight Cupcakes again, but make them better. I made sure to have all the ingredients ahead of time (don't you hate it when you get halway through and then have to run to the shop for more eggs, or icing sugar?) and even got some proper After Eights to decorate with. Here they are on my sister's rose plate.

The original cupcakes were a bit slap dash but these have a more polished look (or at least I think so) and the After Eight on the top really sets them off! These might just become one of my 'signature' cakes...

Friday, 28 October 2011

A Splendiferous Day

Yesterday was my birthday and like a true child at heart, I was mega excited about it!! It was a lovely day and I thought I would share a few pics of some of the great pressies I was lucky enough to receive. There was a pink and cake related theme going on with the cards, wrapping paper and some of the pressies, so I guess people know me well!

Great British Bake Off book, Mary Berry's Cakes and Bakes, pink apron and oven gloves and matching tongs and spatula - these encompass some of my favourite things!

Tarte tin and cake lifter as seen on Great British Bake Off. Tarte au Citron, here I come!!

More lovely books to curl up with on rainy weekends. Particularly excited about the Dawn French book which I've heard is hilarious.

New additions to the book shelf!

Left handed dressmaker's scissors. Any lefty will know what this means to me, I am hoping they will revolutionise my sewing projects. No more struggling with crapola scissors that I can't make cut!

The most recent addition to my handbag wardrobe - tartan Cath Kidston tote! I treated myself with some birthday money, and I love it! I don't usually go for tartan things (unless they're in my family tartan) but this was a must have! 
Mr PC and I spent the day in London (a rarity these days) and we had a lovely time. We went to Harrods' Christmas World and I must say I was hugely disappointed with the rubbish selection and poor quality of goods on offer. There was not a single thing I wanted to buy which to be honest, is highly unusual! Actually, there was a really cute cushion with appliqué gingerbread men which I liked but it was £80 so I threw it back on the shelf in disgust and disbelief. It was Made in China and so probably cost a few pence to make...

We then had a delicious lunch in a proper Italian restaurant across the road from Harrods and we pretended we were in Rome. A jaunt round Covent Garden was the afternoon activity and I tasted my first macaroons from Ladurée. I must say, they were delightfully scrummy but far too small for my greediness liking. You'd need to eat at least six to get a proper cake fix!

In the evening we went to see The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium and it was pretty cool. I was such a kid! I think the dog playing Toto absolutely stole the show, he is so well trained and never missed a command. The way they did the black and white bits and the tornado was really cool and those ruby slippers, well....

The show was great but there are few things which I think were a bit wrong:
  • Toto is white when in the film he was black
  • Dorothy didn't have a basket
  • Most of the Munchins were played by adults
  • The boys from the Lollipop Guild had scooters, not lollipops - why?
  • The Munchins were all blue - what's that about?
  • The Wicked Witch didn't wear a hat so when she got melted there was nothing left of her

All in all it was delightful birthday and this morning I woke up to Mr PC's freshly baked birthday cake!!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A Red Red Rose

In addition to teacup candles, I also make cake stands from vintage china. Well I wanted to share this delightful two tier cake stand which I made for my sister:

The china is a very simple pattern with just three red roses, and can you believe the two plates are actually different makes? They are exactly the same! 

All that's missing are some delightful cakes, so hopefull when I take it to my sister at the weekend, she will ahve baked something to put on it!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Finished WIP: Christmas Stocking #1

I did it! Last night saw the completion of my first ever Christmas stocking and wow did it take ages..! It turned out better than I expected, considering I have no idea what I'm doing with these things and the sewing machine is still a scary piece of machinery at times.

First handmade Christmas stocking!

 I modelled the size on a shop bought stocking which we have used the last couple of years, and I actually did a happy dance when I compared them and saw that my stocking was just the same size and shape!

Using shop bought as a template saved a lot of aggro

This is Mr PC's stocking, mine will be a bit more contemporary than this one but it does mean starting the whole process from scratch again!

I think the pom poms look like mini snowballs

Pics of stocking number 2 to follow! What have you been making for Christmas?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Things I love

... my husband
... my family and friends
... all the people I knew who are no longer here
... wearing pink
... chocolate in all variations
... cake
... spending time with the people most important to me
... being creative and wish I could make more time for it
... Christmas
... giving presents
... receiving presents
... Scotland and Edinburgh in particular
... dolly mixtures
... weddings
... singing along to the radio but only when no one can hear
... the time I spent at uni, those were fun times
... my cay Lucy who lived to the ripe old age of 20
... driving fast with loud music on
... Spain and the lifestyle they have there
... going on Spa breaks, especially when they are free!
... so many more things that I could sit all day writing this list!!

What do you love and appreciate most in life?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Weekend sewing

This weekend I shall be forcing myself to sit down and get through the pile of mending jobs that have stacked up recently. I particularly dislike sewing jobs, like mending a hem or sewing buttons back on. Urgh, so dull! But they have to be done and this weekend they will all be fixed, washed and put back into the wardrobes because I am fed up looking at them!

I will also be finishing the christmas stockings which I mentioned last year. I started them earlier in the week and had some real hissy fits about them and I really lost it when I screwed up the ribbon trimming, so I packed it all away and decided enough was enough. I will not let them beat me so this weekend I'm hoping to conquer them! This is what the first one looks like at the moment, it needs the trimming unpicked and resewn before the front and back get sewn together and hey presto, ready for Santa's delivery!

What are you doing this weekend?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Finished WIP: Hand warmers

Remember the granny stripe scarf? Well I've finished the matching hand warmers! They're not granny striped as I thought the would be too holey so I used a pattern that uses trebles and even learnt how to do ribbing which I'm quite impressed with.

Making the first one was fairly easy but as I modified the pattern, making the second one in the same size was kind of tricky even though I'd counted out all the rows and stitches. I just couldn't get it to be the same and it was driving me potty!  I must have unpicked the cuff about 5 times and was getting rather frustrated with it but I got there in the end. I do think I've made them a bit baggy as I hadn't factored in the stretchy-ness of the stitches, but I'll know that for next time. 

My current WIP is a granny stripe bag for a Christmas pressie, pics to follow soon!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Super signage

I've got a brand spanking new sign for my craft stalls! It is really quite splendind and was made especially for me! Wanna see?

It's going to look even more splendid once it's been painted and decorated to match my branding and I can't wait to hang it up!!

If you would like a wooden laser cut sign like mine, give me a shout and I'll put in touch with the lovely Sue who makes them. She's very reasonably priced too, so perfect for some Christmas pressies or even a treat for yourself.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Baking Experiment

Today I invented a new cupcake! I'm calling it After Eight flavour. Ok, so maybe someone else in the world has already made these, but they it's a new flavour in my world therefore I'm gonna take the credit for it!

I felt the need to bake this morning and I wanted to do something a bit different, so when I found the peppermint flavouring in the cupboard, I had a lightbulb moment and created what has turned out to be some rather delicious cupcakes. The sponge is a light peppermint flavour and the frosting is dark chocolate and peppermint flavoured - absolutely to die for!

After Eight Cupcake

I used an icing nozzle to decorate and then popped a wee silver sugar ball on the top to give them a touch of colour. There's loads of spare frosting so I'm thinking what else I can use it for, altho I see myself baking some more mint sponges to spread it on!

Dodgy piping, need more practice!

What baking experiments have you done, and did they work?

Friday, 14 October 2011

Some theories

I thought I'd share a few theories I have about things:

  • If you buy an item that comes with 50% extra free (or similar offer), then the free part has no calories. for example, if you buy a 6 pack of chocolate mousses that comes with 2 extra, then the extra ones are free of calories. This applies to all things, like chocolate, cake, biscuits, ice cream, sweets etc. 
  • Broken biscuits have no calories because the calories have fallen out. 
  • Chips taste much better when eaten off someone else's plate
  • My chocolate bars are not for sharing but yours are
  • Some women should not be allowed to drive, especially the ones who drive ridiculously large 4x4s and don't know how to handle them
  • Cat cuddles cure all woes
  • A good hug from someone you love is enough to remind you that you're cherished
  • Regularly doing something you greatly enjoy improves your quality of life, be that sewing, sports, travelling, reading, cooking or gardening
  • Technology is wonderful until it stops working 
  • Even the most intelligent of people need to watch trashy telly sometimes
  • Everyone should have at least one friend who they can call in the middle of the night and it not be a problem
  • Everyone should have at least on friend that makes them laugh so har it makes their belly hurt
  • A vase of flowers can cheer you up, even if they are not your favourite blooms
  • Giving flowers feels just as good as receiving them
  • If you eat the same number of vegetables as you do cakes, that is a fairly balanced diet
I hope that's cheered you up ready for the weekend!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A new obession

I am slowly but surely becoming obsessed with Pinterest. I find I log on 'for a quick look' and then an hour later I'm still trawling the amazing collection of stuff on there!

For anyone who doesn't know, Pinterest is an online collection of memo boards, or mood boards full or inspiration. You create your own board and then you 'pin' things you like to it which you can then go back to. For example, you can have a board dedicated to recipes you want to try, a board all about ideas for decorating your house, a board all about your favourite films, books, fashions, colours, crafts... the possibilities are endless!

If you are always pulling things out of magazines and filing them away for a rainy day, or always bookmarking things you see on website and then have trouble remembering which link is the one you want, then Pinterest will become your new best friend!! You can sit in the comfort of your favourite chair and be so inspired by what you can find on this website that you might lose yourself for a good few hours. You can look at other people's boards and then re-pin things you like, or you  can pin something you find on a website/blog/YouTube for you to remember at a later date. It's very visual and I've discovered some great blogs via Pinterest which I might not have found otherwise.

Imagine a collection of all your favourite things, all in one place...!

Here's a few links to some of my boards I use the most:

Bake, bake, bake!
I like this
Crafty goodness

If  you sign up to Pinterest not only will you find loads of fantastic new ideas and things you want to try, I guarantee you will become obsessed with it!! And it you download the app for your phone, say goodbye to boredom!

You can follow me on Pinterest by clicking here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

New Product: Handmade door stops

The creative cogs have been turning recently and my latest new product range is door stops. So far I have made just one, but there are plans for more coming very soon in some great fabric prints!

I just love this grey and lime green colour combo! And the birdies are super adorable. 

This doorstop is filled with rice to make it nice and heavy, which is ideal for propping a door open but not great for posting to potential Etsy customers. The postage costs...! So I'm in the midst of designing a 'fill your own' door stop which means that people can buy the doorstop and then when they get it home, fill it with whatever weight they have: rice, sand, pebbles etc.

I have some great fabrics which will lend themselves to very cute door stops, but the first one I will try this new idea with is this great flowery print:

And, if I can bear to part with it, and the design works, I might make one with this print:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Finished WIP: Granny stripe bolster cushion

I can finally share these pics of my latest project, now that I've given it to my sister for her birthday present!

A granny stripe bolster cushion. I made this up as I went along and I'm rather pleased with how it turned out! I even sewed buttons on so that the cover can be taken off for washing. Here are the pics!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Photoshoot with a difference

Last weekend my sister came over and modelled all the knitwear which I sell at craft fairs so that I can also list them in my Etsy shop. I'm still messing about with the proper photos, but I thought I'd share some of the 'out takes' from the afternoon's hilarity of coping with the wind, a cat who wanted to join in, and the issues with wardrobe.

That's a lotta scarves! And yes the McCoys were for scack time...

Trying to figure out which way to put the shrug on

The model making her demands "Where are my crisps?!"

Me taking the pics
Such a poser...

The wind caused some issues

Obligatory 'hair in the face' shot

How many models eat crisps on the job?

Squeak the cat wanted to join in but is camera shy (and yes that's Mr PC)

And this is the dodgiest look of the whole shoot!

Real photos will follow shorlty once I've waded through them and got them into some kind of order!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Get your scarf...'ve pulled!

Remember a while ago I posted about the ripple scarf I was making? Well, I got frustrated with trying to get the ripple to work and lost patience with it so unpicked it all (for the 6th time) and turned the scarf into a granny stripe scarf instead! After learning the granny stripe for another (still secret) project, I decided to make myself a scarf in the same style. And I think it turned out rather well. I'm really liking the granny stripe for the moment, so easy and looks great.

I made it fairly narrow so that it could be a scarf for those in between days when it's not really cold but it's not warm either. I'm also thinking it could be an all day accessory instead of just for outdoors.  It's a nice length too so hopefully it will look good worn different ways. 

I still had plenty of yarn left so I'm now making some hand warmers to match. I thought the granny stripe would make them too holey so I'm following a pattern that uses trebles (or US double crochet) which I found on Pinterest. I'm quite liking how they're shaping up, but I have to be careful to keep counting the stitches as I have a knack of adding stitches without realising! I've also learnt how to make a rib, so there's another stitch style mastered!

Again, I'm hoping these can be all day accessories a the yarn is not too heavy. And they will be so soft that I prob won't want to take them off!!

In other accessory related news, I've fashioned two scarves recently. One is based on the Mollie Makes scarf which you make out of a chopped up t-shirt and the other is from some gold jersey fabric I got at John Lewis. 

Mollie Makes scarf - before

Mollie Makes scarf - after
I'm not sure if I like this one, I feel it looks too much like a chopped up t-shirt for me. I'll have to try it with the appropriate outfit and see what it looks like. I also had to modify it slightly as my top was quite big around the body (I'm a big person, but it had also stretched) and so when I first put it on, it came down past my waist and looked daft. So I got the sewing machine out and shortened it a bit. This was one of my fave tops but it was getting old and kinda baggy in an unflattering way and I wasn't ready to part with it so it seemed liked a good candidate for this DIY attempt. The jury is still out though.

This is the gold stripe jersey scarf I sewed up at the weekend.

It looks a bit odd on the hanger but I think it's ok. It looks like those infinity scarves you can buy in the shops for some crazy amount of money but this was nice and cheap! I put a twist in it before sewing the ends together so it's got a bit of shape. This is also hopefully going to be an all day accessory.

And that's it for my latest completed projects! There are lots more to come soon as the sewing machine is now set up at the dining table ready for more action!
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