Friday, 29 April 2011

Of felt and flowers

I saw this felt dahlia flower in blogland the other day and couldn't wait to make it..... if you want to give it a go, you can find the tutorial here with exact measurements.

Now my version isn't as lovely as the tutorial, but its not bad for a first attempt even if I say so myself. I did use a hot glue gun because it is much quicker and I don't have the patience to sit through waiting for normal fabric glue to dry!!! Me thinks loads of people I know will be getting brooches as pressies this year!!!!

This is what I started off with.

With a little bit of hot glue, I glued the ends of the cut felt together.

Like so to form the petals.

Then I glued a piece of cardboard (measurements in original tutorial link at start of post) with the felt.

And folded over the back of the felt. Don't worry about the messy look.

Because I will cover it with another piece of felt.

Now starting with the largest petals, I hot glued them to the base close together.

This is how it looked with one layer finished.

Then I added the second layer of petals (the mid sized ones)

And finally the smallest petals at the end. The middle wasn't very clean.

So I made a rosette out of a strip of felt and glued it to the centre.

Ta da - you could use it as a brooch or on a hairband or maybe even on a necklace!

I am waiting for my pin backs to arrive so I can use it as a brooch on my jacket!!!!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Jersey knit bracelet - cool and chic!

Ok, I know it isn't the neatest job - but that's part of what makes these bracelets super cool. Team them up with a casual top and a pair of jeans and you're away! You can follow the full tutorial here.

I just used an old top I had lying around, but you could use any t-shirt. You end up with an accessory at no cost and its great for recycling those old clothes :)

What do you think?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Give me some sunshine!

We've been very lucky - we've managed to see this golden yellow sphere in the sky for a week now - no mean feat if you live in South West England! This coupled with the fact that it was a four day weekend was just the icing on the cake - no pun intended.

It was also the weekend of my birthday and I got given a cupcake decorating book by the boss. Now I'm not usually a frosting and decorating person myself - I prefer to pack a punch in the flavour, but there were such adorable ideas in the book that I couldn't resist trying to transfer a burst of sunshine into my cupcakes.

So I baked some vanilla cupcakes. I have added the recipe for these at the bottom of the post.

I then made some vanilla frosting (recipe included at the bottom of the post). I divided the frosting into two and tinted one half green with some food colouring. I tinted the other half of the frosting yellow. Then I further divided the yellow frosting into two and tinted half with orange.

Use a palette knife to spread the green frosting over the cupcakes when cooled. Then place an oreo cookie, pressing it into the frosting so that it holds. Now I learnt a really nifty trick the other day. If you don't have piping bags, don't despair. Grab yourself a ziplock bag and spoon your frosting in it. Press out the air and seal the bag. Tape some scotch tape around the end you are going to pipe from to reinforce it and then cut a tip and pipe away!

Anyways, back to the point, spoon some yellow frosting and some orange frosting side by side in a ziplock bag or you could use two separate bags. Cut a 'V' shape into the front of the bag and pipe out some petals pulling away so that you have tips.

Pipe one layer of petals around the edge of the oreo cookie and then pipe a second layer overlapping the first.

Mine weren't perfect - some flowers came out better than others - but at least I had fun doing it when I wasn't screaming at my piping bag!!!

The final result was this. I took them in to work for my birthday and everyone loved them!

Here's the recipe I used.

Vanilla Cupcakes – makes 10 to 12 cupcakes
120 g plain flour
125 g caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
40 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
120 ml semi skimmed milk
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
12 hole cupcake tray lined with paper or silicone cases

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius
2. Using a beater combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you prefer you can use your fingertips for this process (just like when you make pastry).
3. Gradually add in half the milk (60 ml), a little at a time and beat until the milk is incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk for a few seconds. Pour into the flour mixture a little at a time and beat continuously until all the liquid is incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
5. Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases until two thirds full and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes. When done they will turn light golden and a skewer inserted in to the centre should come out clean.
6. Remove from oven and let cool for a little while in the tray before turning out to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Frosting – for frosting 12 cupcakes
225 g icing sugar
80 g unsalted butter at room temperature
25 ml semi skimmed milk
A couple of drops vanilla essence
1. Beat icing sugar and butter until the mixture comes together.
2. Reduce speed. Combine milk and vanilla extract.
3. Gradually add milk mixture to the butter mixture, couple of teaspoons at a time.
4. Once all the milk has been incorporate, turn up the speed and beat for a few minutes.
5. The longer you beat the frosting, the fluffier and smoother it gets.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The mania continues

While I'm hooked on this crafting stuff, I checked out a tutorial for fabric flowers which you can find here. Ok so its not the neatest job, but I'm only just getting into it - so you will have to bear with me. Practice makes perfect!

I took a plain black hairband, which cost about £0.40.

Made a fabric flower with some fabric I had lying around.

And hot glued it to the hairband with some felt for backing.

I know its very girly - but the sun has been shining and summer is around the corner, what better reason to get all the girly accessories out!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Easter - my first proper craft project!

So I popped into to pick up the little monster at nursery last week and got a little note saying there is an 'Easter Bonnet' parade for the kids in 10 days time...Now while ignorance is bliss, it isn't always so as I had no idea what an Easter bonnet was. A few questions sorted that out and then the jitters set in as I have always thought of myself as not having a single arty bone in my body!

My first reaction was to go and buy her one from the store! But then my lovely friend Carla, who is very skilled and you can find her here, helped me to get into doing something on my own and this is the result!

I bought a plain bonnet at the store for £2.00.

Made a few things from stuff I had lying around - although I did buy the little chicks! I'm not that clever! Oh, and I had the pink flowers lying around from a card making bag I had bought a few years ago. Everything else I made from scratch!

And this was the end result! Ta da!

So not only did my crafting skills get a kick start, but also managed to recycle stuff which I had around which always feels good rather than it just going to the tip. I think I'm hooked now!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Wake up and smell the coffee!

Mocha Cake

I offered hubby a choice between lemon drizzle and coffee cake (I don't know why I bothered - I knew he'd pick coffee!!!) Since I'm not that big a coffee cake fan, but wanted to try the recipe, I tweaked the original Hummingbird recipe to include a teeny tiny chocolate angle which gave it its mocha flavour.
I took some in for the work colleagues who said it was lovely and light and then promptly got told off for not having frosted you can see it doesn't look that great minus frosting but it did taste good :)

So for all those of you with a sweet tooth out there - I have included the recipe for the frosting, but if like me you're trying to keep sugar levels low - then you can make it without too and you won't be disappointed.

Mocha Cake
Serving: 12 – 16 slices
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
225 g unsalted butter at room temperature
225 g caster sugar
225 g plain flour
4 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cocoa powder
30 g dark chocolate – melted (this can be done in a microwave)
23 cm round cake tin, greased and lined
1. Make a coffee essence by putting the instant coffee granules in 80 ml water in a small saucepan and boil till it is reduced by half. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
2. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
3. In a bowl, mix together the butter, sugar and coffee essence and cream together until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs one at a time making sure to beat well.
5. Add the melted chocolate.
6. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add this to the above mixture folding lightly, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for roughly 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
250 g icing sugar, sifted
80 g unsalted butter at room temperature
25 ml whole milk
Couple of drops of vanilla extract
1 tsp coffee essence (as made above)
Beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric mixer. Combine milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl and add to the butter and sugar mixture, one spoon at a time. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the coffee essence.
Decorate with chocolate shavings and coffee beans.

Thursday, 14 April 2011


is what I have been for the past few days......:(
On the upside, I've found a recipe for a spiced pear cake today that I really want to try! I will try and post a recipe this evening  for a mocha cake that I made the other day.  Keep your eyes peeled.
Have a good day everyone!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lemon Biscuits

These are from a recipe by Rachel Allen and I make them regularly with my 2 year old - very easy to do and they taste scrumptious.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Serving: Makes around 25 medium sized round cookies


175 g plain flour

Zest of 1 lemon (grated fine)

110 g soft butter cut into pieces

50 g caster sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / Gas mark 4.
2. Put the flour and lemon rind into the bowl. Now add the chopped butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Do not use the palm of your hand.
3. Add the caster sugar. Bring the whole mixture together to form a dough. Initially it will feel like its not coming together but do not add water. Be patient, you will be able to form a dough.
4. Roll out dough to about ½ cm thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
5. Place carefully on a baking tray and cook for 8 – 10 mins in the oven or until they turn lightly golden.
6. The cookies will feel soft to touch. They will only harden on cooling – so ensure that you take them out of the oven when the edges start browning.
7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. They will keep in an airtight container for about a week (assuming they stay that long!!!)

Variation: You can use orange rind instead of lemon or a mixture of lemon and orange.
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