Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Winter season swap

A big thank you to Becks for this fabulous winter swap.
A gorgeous red felt stocking and...

...a beautiful felted snowman with teeny handknitted scarf.
Thank you so much; I am so impressed you found the time to make me something so lovely inbetween all your other crafting and family life.

While we're on the subject of season swap...

...this is what I made for Claire - a knitted robin with a bar of chocolate inside.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Box of cards

Every time I made a card this year I tried to make an extra one.
There's quite a variety here; mostly birthdays, some blank, two new baby cards and a sympathy card.
I've packaged them up in cellophane bags.

I found an old box - it had some soap and a loofah in originally. I've covered up the words with some pretty paper and put all the cards in it.
These are for my mum as an extra Christmas present. She often asks me to make her a card, and now she can send genuine handmade greetings throughout the year.
(She can even claim them as her own work if she likes!)

Tree biscuits

Don't my tree biscuits look yummy?
They are decorated with a star cut out of roll out icing, stuck on with glace icing.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Paper stars

I'm in love with making these fabulous stars!
All you need is some square paper - and I have lots of that in my cardmaking stash - and some glue dots or double sided sticky tape. And some ribbon for hanging.

The instructions are on this blog The Magic Onions.

Here are mine hanging from the light fitting in the hall.

Christmas greenery

I am definitely no florist!
This is my attempt at arranging greenery which I picked in the garden.
It is very hard to find bits which are the right size and which point the right way.
I' m quite happy with the result though, as it cost me only £1.20 for the oasis (and I only used half of it) and £1 for a packet of candles. I already had the tray and the baubles.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas cupcakes

Do you like my cupcakes?
I've made sixty (in a fit of productivity!!) for the boys to take to school for their class friends.

They're super simple - just pale blue glace icing with a star cut out of fondant icing on top.

50th Birthday Card

Been far, far, far too busy to be very productive lately, but here's a card I had to make quickly last night.
I've just used some pretty papers and rubber stamped the numbers and greeting.
The recipient is off to Australia for Christmas and her birthday, so I thought the ice cream paper was quite appropriate.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Easy tea bread

 This is delicious, moist and chewy with lots of yummy fruit.

Pour 150ml boiling water onto 350g dried fruit and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Beat 75g brown sugar and 1 egg into the fruit.
Sift in 175g self raising flour, and stir until combined.

Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin, level and sprinkle a tbsp of brown sugar on top.
Bake at 180 deg C for 50 minutes.

Eat sliced with a cup of tea.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Sables vanille

Sounds posh, but it's just the French version of shortbread!
These are little teeny biscuits where all the mixing is done by food processor.

Chop 115g room temperature butter into cubes, and blitz until creamy. Then add 50g caster sugar and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and blitz again until mixed. Add 160g plain flour and give it another blitz.

You should have a crumbly mix like this.
Make it into a dough by pressing it all together, then roll into 2 long sausages - about 2 inches thick.

Sprinkle brown sugar onto your surface and roll the sausages in it.

Then chop into slices - about an inch thick.

Spread onto baking parchment and bake for 20 minutes at 180 deg c.

Perfect served with a mocha for that coffee shop experience!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Hat and Scarf

A beanie hat...

...and a matching scarf.
Not the most exciting things ever knitted, but that's another present done!
These are for my second son, Anthony.
I've knitted most of it in the car - not while driving obviously! I've done a little bit every day while I wait for the boys to come out of school.

The pattern is basically stocking stitch with every 8th row knitted instead of purled so that you get the nice wibble at regular intervals.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Knitted Mario beanie hat

This is a Christmas present for my eldest son, James. He is six and completely nintendo mad.
It was going to be a plain red hat, because red is his favourite colour.
But then, in a moment of madness I thought to myself, "perhaps I could try putting an M on it..."

So this is my first attempt at intarsia; not perfect by any means - the circle is rather hexagonal for a start!

Monday, 23 November 2009

23 Christmas Cards

2 black and white ones

4 polar bear ones

4 penguin ones

5 Christmas doggies

4 of these

and 4 odd ones!

Can you tell I hate doing the same thing twice?

Seedy bread and fruit cake

This loaf is made with half white flour and half wholemeal.
Today I've added some seed mixture; sesame, linseed and pumpkin - nearly a cupful altogether.

Also made a fruitcake at my husband's request.
Basic recipe - 4oz margarine rubbed into 8oz self raising flour. Mix in 4oz sugar and 6oz dried fruit.
Stir in 2 beaten eggs and a splash of milk to make a smooth mixture.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 50 minutes.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Baked Doughnuts

Not as healthy as they sound!
I bought a baking tray with doughnut shaped holes in Lidl. It seemed like a good idea, until I got home and realised I didn't know how to make doughnuts.

So I found this recipe on t'internet.

6 tbsp softened butter mixed with 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and 1 egg.
Add 1 1/2 cups plain flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 cup milk.
Mix it up.

Put into doughnut tray.
I also put some in my silicone muffin tray and they came out fine - just without holes obviously.

Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.
Dip in melted butter, then in caster sugar.


Monday, 16 November 2009

Little scarf

This is just a little stocking stitch scarf to go with the hat and jacket I've knitted for Poppy.
I decided to make a buttonhole on one end, and sew a button on the other end so it can be fastened together instead of wrapped around. (Images of baby strangled on cute scarf kept springing to mind!)

And this is the whole ensemble.
Still have some wool left.
Would matching trousers be overkill??

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Hat with floppy bobble

Here is the hat I've knitted to go with the yoda jacket I've knitted for Poppy.
It's aran weight yarn on 5mm needles.
I started with 50 stitches and did 6 rows of moss stitch, then stocking stitch until it was about 14cm long.
Then I decreased by knitting 2 together every few stitches - can't remember exactly, but I decreased on each knit row for a few rows until there were 9 stitches left. Then I threaded the yarn through those stitches and pulled it up tight before tying. It was crying out for a fluffy, floppy bobble.

This is a Christmas present, but I was worried it wouldn't fit, so I just let Poppy try it on for size.
I still have loads of wool left, so I've started a scarf now!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Amazingly Easy Mittens

This is my first adventure in 4-ply!
I bought the wool at the hobbycraft show at the NEC, from
It's a gorgeous self striping sock wool called Regia, 75% wool and 25% polyamide.
I've used less than 50g altogether.

To knit the mittens couldn't be easier.
Cast on 55 stitches on 3mm needles, and knit until it measures 16cm, then cast off.
(For bigger hands knit a few more cm.)
Sew cast on and cast off edges together for 5cm, leave a 5cm gap for your thumb, then sew the rest together.
Make another one for your other hand!

Ta Dah!

You can even wear them upside down!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

More Christmas cards

I bought this stamp at the hobbycraft show at the NEC.
I've stamped it in black straight onto the card, then coloured it with pigment inks on a paintbrush, and added a little glitter for Christmas sparkle. The greeting is also stamped.

I also bought this stamp. This time I've coloured it in with felt tips.
The printed paper and ribbon are leftovers from last year's cards! The greeting is a peel off sticker.

Currant buns

You will need 1 egg, 125ml milk, 50g butter, 40g sugar, 1/2 tsp mixed spice,1/2 tsp salt, 350g bread flour and 2 tsp yeast. Make into dough and  add 50g currants.

I let the breadmaker do this!
Make 8 balls and slightly flatten them. Anthony helped me with this.

Let them rise for 45 minutes then glaze them with a mixture of egg, milk and 1 tbsp sugar.

Nice and shiny, ready to bake at 200 deg C for 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack, then eat!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Why bread making is great!

I just love baking bread - it's so easy and satisfying! I let the breadmaker do the mixing and kneading (because I'm too lazy and the machine does a better job anyway) then I remove the dough, let it prove a little and bung it in the oven. Today I made lovely soft rolls.

So here are my top five reasons why you should bake your own bread.

1. It tastes far, far, far better than that shop bought, ready sliced stuff.
2. It saves you money. My basic recipe is 10fl oz warm water (free from tap), 2 1/2 tbsp sugar, 2 1/2 tbsp dried milk, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (those 4 ingredients can't come to much more than 15 pence worth), 3 cups of bread flour (between 20 pence worth if you buy standard flour and 50 pence worth if you buy organic premium flour) and 1 1/4 tsp dried yeast (about 5p.) So your loaf costs between 40p and 70p, plus the cost of heating the oven. You can batch bake or cook alongside other things to save on fuel costs.
3. You will save loads of polythene bags from landfill - the ingredients all come in paper bags or metal cans.
4. You can adjust your ingredients to suit your taste and your dietary needs - you can lower the salt and sugar (although these ingredients do help the yeast to work) or you can make your bread completely organic or vegan.
5. Everyone is always really impressed!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Lemon Drizzle Cake

This is a recipe by Mrs Tana Ramsay which I found here.
Very easy and very yummy.

And a good way of using up 4 eggs when you have very productive chickens!