Felt Christmas Tree Ornaments

Yes more felt. I can’t help it.

These are easy peasy green felt triangles with small amount of brown felt for the base and different coloured scraps stitched on for decorations. Just whip stitch all the way round putting some ribbon in the top for hanging and stuff with toy filler.

Halloween Chocolate Apples

What is more satisfying than a crunchy fresh apple smothered in chocolate? I’m not great toffee maker and quite frankly I prefer chocolate apples to the classic toffee in any case.

There is not much dignified about making or eating a chocolate apple but they are a whole lot of fun aren’t they? We added some edible glitter and piped faces…. I made this grumpy faced one for my husband! I’ll be in trouble for this ha!

Super Quick Christmas Tree Angels

These pretty little tree angels are amazingly quick to make.  They are easily something a child could do if you want to give them a Christmas craft do get their teeth into while you crack on with other jobs or just sit with a Caramel Macchiato and catch up with ER re-runs. Or maybe that’s just me!

Minimal supplies needed:

1 pack of white fimo air

brown garden twine or string

an angel cookie cutter

Some baking parchment

Rolling pin

Roll out the fimo to about 3mm thick. Cut out the angels and place them onto the parchment. Before allowing them to dry, poke a small hole in the head of each one. I used a metal skewer for this. Dry overnight then thread with the garden twine. Done!

Of course you could do this with any cookie cutter you like. Snowmen or stars would be great.

 

 

Girls Pink Flower First Birthday Number 1 Cake

This time last year I was in the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth hospital visiting my niece Holly who was just a few hours old. Having been an Auntie for a full 12 months it made me realise how much has changed since then. I got married, started a new career, took my first holiday abroad in 12 years, found a stray kitten in the street…….and have continued to hone my cake decorating skills. Little by little. I’m still not amazing but I do try to give new techniques a go whenever I can.

I’ve only used number tins once before so still don’t feel utterly confident with them yet. I struggle with baking times as it’s not as predicable as baking in a round or square tin and some of the shapes can be a pain (to put it nicely) to ice with fondant.

As they say, practice makes perfect I guess. Pretty pleased with todays results though:

Iced Gingerbread Cupcakes

I made these gingerbread cupcakes for Christmas Eve last year as a alternative for Santa. They are an old Nigella recipe from her Feast book I have been using for years which works really well and gives really moist christmassy cupcake. I just added the icing and drizzled chocolate as an extra treat for the big man.

Here’s the recipe:

 

Gingerbread Muffins (Feast by Nigella Lawson)

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
  • 4 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons molasses

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk the egg in another bowl, then add the brown sugars, making sure to break up any lumps.

Add the milk and vinegar to the egg-brown sugar mixture then measure in the oil with a tablespoon. Use the same oily spoon to add the corn syrup and molasses so they don’t stick to it. Whisk the mixture to combine and add to the flour and spices.

Stir until mixed but still fairly lumpy-the mixture may be more runny than you expect for muffins- but you need the dense stickiness of gingerbread, rather than a cakey crumb. Spoon or pour the mixture into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes until the tops are dry.

Once they have cooled, top them with gloopy water icing and drizzle with melted chocolate once the icing has fully set.

Makes 12 Muffins.

The new addition….

My sister calls my family the waltons. She says every time I see her there is another one of us. She’s not totally wrong, we are now a seven – my husband and I, 3 children between us, the cat Jean and now the kitten I found wondering around in our street on a Sunday morning. Molly.

Seven mouths to feed, I must be mad.  My wonderful friend Jane is convinced I had planted Molly outside the house so we could ‘find’ her. I wish I was that clever.

Here’s Molly this morning helping me Blog…kind of.

Cerise Pink Star 30 Cake

My glamorous friend Sahira turned 30 recently and asked me to make her a bright pink 30 shaped cake. I’d been playing with cake wires recently so decided to go with a star theme and have some glittery stars exploding from the centre of the 0 like fireworks.

The colour is wild don’t you think?!

Big Little Felt Universe by Jeanette Lim – Book Review

The book shelf in my lounge is currently buckling under the weight of my growing collection of craft and cookery books. It drives my husband round the bend. My solution would be to have a nice ‘craft’ room of my own that I could hibernate in, surrounding myself with fabric and wall to wall books for every type of craft. A girl can dream.

In the mean time, I can just about squeeze a couple more in and ‘Big Little Felt Universe’ by Jeanette Lim is my new muse. I have recently been looking for some felt food patterns online when I stumbled upon Jeanette’s etsy shop which is packed with fabulous looking patterns for all sorts of felt food and toys. Struggling to decide which one to buy, imagine my excitement when I realised she had also published this book with Lark Crafts.

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And what a craft book it is. There is not one pattern in the collection that I do not want to make. Each project is beautifully photographed with clear instructions, although some projects are trickier than others so maybe not all will be suitable for beginners. Most of the patterns are full size and even the few that aren’t can be enlarged or even measured out yourself as all the measurements are given.

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I started with the felt veg and the results are really pleasing. The patterns are sized really well and everything fits together perfectly. This really is a fun and exciting book of the felt food projects that you will really want – fruit, veg, cakes, tools, burgers and hotdogs and loads more. Great to start off in the wonderful world of felt food and then progress into Jeanette’s other etsy patterns. All will produce amazing toys that children will adore compared with the sad mass produced plastic offerings of most stores.

A must buy for any lover of felt.

Next project for me is this super cute gingerbread house for the holiday season!

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Mother & Daughter baking – Butterfly Jam Tarts

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More evening baking in our household for this Tuesdays pudding. The cupboards were a tad bare today so good old pastry made an appearance.

I’ve said it before but I don’t really use a recipe for standard shortcrust – it is now cemented in my brain so firm I don’t always even use scales. The original recipe I used when cooking with my mother was always from our flour and egg stained Be-Ro book and it goes a little something like this:

8oz plain flour
2oz butter
2oz lard
Enough cold water to combine the ingredients

Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well and pour in the cold water a little at a time until it comes together in a firmish dough. Cool in the fridge for about 30 mins then roll out thinly.

So, back to the Tarts in hand. Pastry made and tins lined my daughter Kate & I next raid the fridge for jam to put in our tarts. Half a jar of apricot jam springs to our attention and next thing you know, we’ve filled the pastry cases and licked a couple too many spoons. We had some extra pastry left over so decided to top our tarts with some butterfly shapes using our favourite butterfly cutter set. 12 minutes in the oven and about 30 seconds to eat them all!

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Magazine Christmas Tree

Can’t believe I’m starting my Christmas crafts already, I must be mad. Discovered these fab magazine Christmas Tree decorations on the Martha Stewart website today and had a spare hour or two. The instant results appealed to me too. I’m all about fast craft.

This christmas craft is crazy easy and a bit like making paper aeroplanes. Try handbag sized magazines too for a mini tree. They look super cool naked or fancy up your tree with some spray glitter or paint.