Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Swapsies Event

This weekend I held a stall at the Swapsies event in my local area.  It was a fantastic idea where you could bring up to 3 unwanted items from your wardrobe and swap them for something on the racks! A great way of refreshing your wardrobe, saving money and recycling clothes that would otherwise end up in the bin.

Fiona together with a few friends organised this event and I hope they have plans to hold another one in the near future.

Above is a picture of my stall and below are a few close ups of what I had on sale.  

Matryoshka dolls - patterned designed by Annabooshouse House. Such a cute and easy to follow pattern which can be made in array of colours.


Mushrooms made from my very own pattern which I hope to share with you soon. 

I loved the event and even had a rummage through the racks myself 

Monday, 18 November 2013

I have been a busy bee...

Wow! Its been a busy few months and I am now starting to get back on track with things now that my Christmas fair has been and gone!

It was a fantastic 3 day Christmas fair and I made some wonderful friends and had some lovely customers buying my creations to give as gifts to their loved ones.

This was the fair that I was involved in and it was amazing!!!


I sold so many of my creations and I purchased a few lovely things as well including this gorgeous tea set


My Nan has a lot of the Willow patterned crockery so when I saw this I just had to have it...my husband sighed and said "more teacups! do we really need more teacups?" to which I replied a lady can never have enough teacups.

I also purchased some gorgeous little presents from Dainty 'N' Arty a lovely lady who makes the most beautiful brooches in an origami style using fabric and leather; another of my purchases was a lovely knitted tea cosy from two very friendly ladies. It was a fabulous weekend but very tiring.

Here's a few pictures of what my stall looked like 


And another with a view of my friends stall selling the brooches I mentioned above


My best selling items were my toadstools, Christmas puddings, ice-creams and items I made using patterns from PlanetJune and Annabooshouse House.

I will definitely be holding a stall here again next year.

Monday, 9 September 2013

A rather dapper looking cat!

Meet Loki, our British Shorthair pussy cat. My husband and I picked Loki up just under a year ago and he soon became a part of our family. Loki will be celebrating his first birthday on the 15th September so as an early birthday present we decided to make him feel special by buying him a bow tie in blue to co-ordinate with his coat. Loki doesn't seem to mind his new collar at all and we were a little worried that it would irritate him, but he seems quite at ease with it and looks quite proud of himself sat at the window.

My husband and I love watching the reactions of people as they pass the window and see Loki sat there in his bow tie. Some laugh, some say awww cute and others just give a strange look as if to say the owners of that house must be insane!!

The bow tie is one of my Etsy finds and as someone who makes handmade items I like to spend that little bit extra on something that someone has taken the time to make; I just feel like it has that little extra something that mass produced products don't have. 

 The lovely lady that we purchased this from is called Chloe Griffiths and she has a little shop on Etsy called Closline

Chloe lives and makes these collars in Australia.

My husband takes all of the photographs for my blog and these are some of my favourites of our cat Loki wearing his new bow tie.

I will definitely be shopping with Chloe again when I need a Halloween themed collar and again for Christmas. They are fantastic quality, they tie tight enough so it doesn't just fall off, but if Loki was to become entangled it will loosen quite easily so that he can get free. The collar is made of a good quality cotton and comes with a little bell attached.

I love it and I think you will agree that Loki seems very pleased with it in these photographs as well

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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

English Muffins

This weeks episode of The Great British Bake Off saw the contestants baking English Muffins in the technical challenge and so as part of the challenge to myself I also had a go at them this week.

You can find Paul Hollywood's recipe for English Muffins here.

If you look carefully in the photo above you can see Paul and Mary watching over my every move!!
I had never baked bread of any kind up until this point and was feeling a little skeptical as to whether I would be able to create an English Muffin to be proud of, but I decided that the worst possible outcome would either be raw dough and a husband with an upset tummy or burnt discs of dough that get to see the inside of my bin instead of my tummy, so I went for it!!

I soon discovered that English Muffins are not easy to make at all! the dough is very wet and it really takes some arm strength to knead it to the required texture. Paul's recipe says to knead for 10 minutes; however it took me a bit longer than this because I don't have much upper body strength.

It was a little worrying and throughout the kneading process I was convinced that I had messed it up somehow as the dough was just clinging to my hands and the kitchen surface, but I kept on going and it did eventually start to come together.

So once the kneading was complete it was on to the proving and the waiting game began. Eventually my dough doubled in size.  Like I said I have never made any kind of bread before and muffins probably wasn't the best thing to start with as the dough is completely different to bread due to the fact that it is a lot wetter and so harder to knead, but at least now I have developed my arm muscles.

After an hour and a half my dough looked like it had proven enough and I was able to roll it out gently and it was then left to rest on the side for 15 minutes; Paul Hollywood's recipe says that this is important as if you cut out the discs before then they may shrink in size in the second proving.

The second proving is a little less and mine only needed 45 minutes. Both my first and second proves needed a little longer and I think this was down to the temperature in my kitchen.

Second prove done and they were ready to be baked griddled.  I don't have a hot plate at home so I used my heavy frying pan and it did just as good a job in my opinion.

Baking Tip: I used a gas hob and even on the lowest heat my pan heated up quite quickly so in order to control the heat I only left it on the hob for half the time and then left the muffins to cook from the remaining heat - this prevented them from burning and allowed them to bake evenly throughout.

All baked and after a long time in the kitchen here is the final product...

I am very proud of myself for pulling this one out of the bag frying pan.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Angel Food Cake

I love watching The Great British Bake-Off and this week they made Angel Food Cake in the technical challenge and the end results looked delicious! I don't have a Mary or a Paul judging my baking skills, but I do have an eager husband and a willing group of family and friends who are all hungry for more of my baked goodies, so I thought I would give it a go.

In week one we saw the 2013 contestants bake and decorate an Angel Food Cake

Mary's Angel Food Cake looked like the one above with a lemon and passion fruit curd which sounds divine! My husband isn't a huge fan of lemon flavours so I decided to go for something slightly different and topped it with fresh berries instead.

What do you think?

I was so impressed with myself and the final cake looked and tasted fantastic!!

...this weekend I will be attempting the next technical challenge and will be making breakfast muffins! wish me luck.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Me, Myself and My Creations

I am going to begin my blog by telling you a little bit about my much loved hobbies and how they came to be a part of my life today.  I have several hobbies that I tend to dip in and out of depending on what creative ideas pop in to my crowded head of creativity. These ideas usually enter my mind whilst at work and so after a long day I like to cosy up on the sofa with of a ball of wool and a crochet hook, or don my finest apron and reach for my baking books to prepare for my next baking challenge.

My favourite hobby changes all the time; one week I love baking and I will bake enough cakes to share with my entire Facebook friends list and then the next week it can change and all I want to do is crochet until I get writers crocheters cramp, but sometimes all I want to do is enjoy a more tranquil craft like finishing off one of my many cross-stitch projects whilst sipping a cup of tea in the garden.

I have several cross-stitch projects sitting in my craft box which I say with a gentle sigh as they were supposed to be presents many Christmas’s ago!
My Cross-stitch projects are a labor of love therefore I don’t like to work on them because I feel I have to which does create an issue when you are making them as gifts. I have discovered over the years that if I work on my hobbies because I have to I enjoy them less and start making mistakes!

Cross-stitch patterns are never fun when you start making mistakes Flashbacks to hours spent unpicking parts where I have missed a row sends shudders down my spine. Many a cross-stitch project have been abandoned due to tiny little mistakes, so it is best to work on these without deadlines.

Crochet is probably the hobby I love and work on the most and excusing the pun I am actually quite hooked on the craft, so much so that I hold regular craft fairs selling the bits and pieces that I have made over the course of the year. I love Christmas fairs as they are always the most successful and well attended; you meet some lovely people and I always go home having learnt something new about a craft belonging to a fellow stall holder.

My dear Mum taught me to crochet around 3 years ago now and I have never looked back. I started off with the humble 'Granny Square' blanket and since then I have created Teddy Bears, baby blankets and clothes and so much more and every time I make something new it always makes me smile.

Baking is a more recent hobby that I have started and one that makes my friends and family very happy when I am visiting with the latest baked goods that I have attempted in the kitchen.  I started baking for the first time around two years ago after watching the 2nd series of The Great British Bake Off.

Baking really pushes my creative ability as there have been success stories and major fails in my kitchen, but I learn new techniques all the time.

These are my main three hobbies, but I do dabble in other areas depending on the challenges put to me, a bit like my craft guru Kirsty Allsopp! Hopefully if you choose to follow me and my crafty ramblings you will be able to get a glimpse at my creative life and all the things I make, bake and stitch with a few little freebie tutorials added in along the way.