Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Saturday, 20 December 2008
I would probably call them heat-y bags as that's what we call H's warming wheat bag. I made these with a bit of "help" from H, for his great-grandmother and for his grandma too... they are made from some Laura Ashley fabric that any grandmother or great-grandmother would love. Probably a little wonky in places due to my less than exemplary sewing skills but they look nice and smell like lovely. They can be warmed in the microwave or popped in a bag and chilled in the freezer.
They were quite simple to make even with my sewing skills and that makes two more presents to pop on the ever growing pile of wrapping I have to do later. After I have been shopping later today to get all the things I have been too sickly to sort out during the week. Luckily we are all on the mend so its going to be very busy these next few days before Christmas. If I have a chance I will blog a few more Christmas-y recipes and maybe a few more crafty things too before I put away my scissors, my pliers, my pens and just wear an apron and carry a wooden spoon in hand constantly. Tis the season after all...
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Every 5 minutes you will need to open the oven door and stir the granola mixture.
A little help for those who don't use cups as measurements. Oh and for the record I just use normal everyday teaspoon and tablespoons for measurements, less hassle than attempting to locate the measuring ones. Which I think have migrated to H's toy box.
U.S. to Metric Conversion Table
1/5 teaspoon = 1 ml
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
1 tablespoon = 15 ml
1 fluid oz. = 30 ml
1/5 cup = 50 ml
1/4 cup = 60 ml
1/2 cup = 120 ml
1 cup = 240 ml
2 cups (1 pint) = 470 ml
4 cups (1 quart) = .95 liter
4 quarts (1 gal.) = 3.8 liters
Cooks Notes: The recipe is mine based on several granola recipes that I found on the Internet and was quite disgusted by the amount of salt, and vegtable oil used in them. In the end I ignored the recipes I had found and experimented with what I thought of as Christmas-y tastes: dried cranberries, cinnamon and brown sugar.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 ½ cup caster (white) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup milk
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Grease 12 cupcake cups or line with paper muffin liners. (recipe makes 24 cupcakes (not fairycake size, muffin tin size.)
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.In a small bowl mix the milk and the vanilla.
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
add half the flour and mix well. Add half the milk and vanilla mixture.
Add eggs, one at a time mixing well. slowly add in the remainder of the dry mixture.
Add the last of the milk and vanilla.
spoon the batter into the cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and onto a rack to finish cooling completely.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1-1/2 cups powdered (icing) sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (flavouring)
Place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl and slowly add in the powdered (icing) sugar as you mix. Blend until smooth.
1 large bag of plain m&ms
1 industrious child to separate the m&ms ( you only need the brown and orange ones so bribary is easy)
sweetened and tenderized coconut
1 bag plain chocolate chips
place the sweet coconut in a bowl
ice a cupcake with the vanilla icing and gently dip the cupcake into the coconut.
use the brown m&ms for the eyes and the orange ones for the nose, and chocolate chip (coal) for the snowman's smile. Its a fun job that the kids can help you with, especially seperating out the m&m colours, as H quite happily sat for an unheard of 10 minutes sperating out all the m&ms and was quite happy to steal a few.
alternatively you could use other orange sweets for the snowman's nose or colour some marzipan orange and roll flat and cut small triangles (carrots) or roll into small carrot shapes.
cooks notes: I made two batches 48 cupcakes to sell after H's school Christmas Concert. every single cupcake sold at a £1 each, M assures me they were very nice I never got one though I may have made myself just the teensiest bit sickly "tasting" the icing....and cake batter... I also made 2 trays of brownies (recipe soon) which all sold out as well, so I was quite pleased that even if my jewellery wasn't selling my cakes were appriciated and raised some money for H's school.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Hopefully M isn't snooping on my blog, he doesn't visit very often anyway so I should be OK to blog this little coffee cup ornament that I made for him.. its only going to be a glorified tag on his present but still its nice to keep some secrets for Christmas.
I posted the pug ornament off to my parents yesterday so I doubt it will make it to Idaho before Christmas but one can hope. all set for Christmas? er no not really but I'm trying to be.. though I think I'm getting a cold which is just what I need in the two weeks before Christmas.
This little owl in a tree is my favourite, its from a quick sketch I did while at a abysmal fair after I had exhausted my supply of beads to make more jewellery and it was better to draw something than to sit twiddling my thumbs. I best get going now I have brownies in the oven and they need checking then I have snowman cupcakes to make... I may blog the recipes later in the week!
Monday, 8 December 2008
We went to a birthday party for H's friend over the weekend as well, and I made the little Lamb ornament to go with a Christmas card I sent along with a birthday present. My friend's last name is Lamb so I thought it would be perfect to doodle a lamb onto one of the fabric ornaments I have been working on. And now apparently need to make more as I dare not take them off the doors or there will be serious upset from the boy.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
step 4: Fold the ends of the material in and hold them with more pins and sew along the bottom of the ornament.
Its not a complicated tutorial because my sewing skills are decidedly advanced, there are a lot of different techniques you could use, you could sew an ornament with the right side out and then crimp along the edges with pinking shears (I don't have any) add buttons, or embroidery. The owl and the quail I hand drew with a fabric pen, ironed it to set the ink and I think they look quite special. I will be giving these out as Christmas gifts as well as decorating our Christmas tree with them.
If you have any questions I will try my best to answer them, and if not I will point you in the direction of someone who can. Its a fun way to use up little scraps that might otherwise sit about in your scrap box feeling unloved and cross breeding with rogue dust bunnies. My scraps and samples have come from some lovely friends, and from ikea, Laura Ashley, and Cath Kidson online ( I er only ordered the samples too chickenshit to order real fabric)
Monday, 1 December 2008
I'm left handed and have struggled all my life to understand the right handed world beyond teaching myself to cut using the red handled scissors in school. (The green Lefty scissors were always a.) broken b.) rusty or c.) stuck together with supposedly kid safe glue). I like to look at things take them apart in my head then try to see if I can do it for myself. Sometimes it works and sometimes it hits an iceberg or several before I go my own way.
This Christmas I am really trying to stick with the handmade theme, I normally do a lot of baking for friends and family, and this year I wanted to do more. So I have been experimenting with my box of scraps to make these cute little ornaments. The scraps are all fabric samples from Laura Ashley that either my Mother in Law gave me or I have asked for on trips to Laura Ashley. I have more to make and more scraps to work with, I'm hoping to give some ornaments away as gifts, and gift tags, and will probably play about with adding a few buttons, and possibly drawing or painting on some scraps of natural linen I have been hiding.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
this is post 30 and I must admit I am quite happy it is over, I tried to make my posts witty and meaningful, but I must admit a few of them were just a chore... and a few more were total cheats as I back dated a few posts here and there when I haven't been on the Internet for a day or two.
Today we went down to the Bullring in Birmingham, to gorge ourselves on Krispy Kreme Donuts at Selfridges. But mainly so H could go goggle eyed at the donut machine and tell me how it works. Then later on I wandered around to food hall cooing and fondling all the American imported food stuff... or should I say junk food stuff.. I really don't see why they have so much marshmallow fluff and Lucky Charms cereal.. both of which I would touch but seeing the packaging make me smile wistfully.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Friday, 28 November 2008
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
1 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup butter/margerine (softened)
3/4 cup caster (white) sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
1 eggs (large)
1 1/2 cup desiccated (sweetened and tenderized coconut*)
Pre-heat the oven to 375° F
In a large bowl beat the butter, vanilla extract, and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour slowly until well blended. By hand stir in the coconut.
Drop the dough by teaspoon onto un-greased cookie sheet. For larger cookies drop by the tablespoon.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the centre is puffed up and the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven, let them cool for a minute on the baking tray before placing on a wire rack to cool.
* I meant to grab the normal desiccated coconut but grabbed the "tenderized and sweetened coconut" by mistake... and I must admit it was lovely and I stole several pinches from the bag before I had finished making the cookies.
cook's notes: as I said above I had bought the wrong coconut by mistake when doing teh shopping last week and the packet was sitting rather forlornly, or as forlornly as a packet of dried coconut can sit, in the cupboard waiting to be used. I love coconut and have expirimented with several diffrent recipe creations, this one I was expirimenting with in an attempt to make a recipe up for Katy to make a dairy free version, as the last tiem she was over I made some coconut rocks. They were meant to be cookies but puffed up a bit too much, they still tasted nice though. These should work out much better and will work nicely with margarine. The turned out lovely and crisp and very coconutty!
Monday, 24 November 2008
Here are your random numbers: 17...
"I would like Santa to bring me some nice clothes, I haven't bought myself anything new in ages! And a pair of new glasses, if he can afford it...I love pendant and would love to find it in a box under the tree!"
Sunday, 23 November 2008
another view but for some reason blogger keeps turning the image sideways.
I dug a piece of material out of my scrap box and sewed this in the little sewing machine. Added the rice and a pinch of cinnamon and sewed up the last little edge. its a bit wonky but that's ok, it smells lovely and it works and I made it all by myself. I am very proud of my little hand warmer as I plan on making a special one for H for Christmas.
There is one day left to sign up for my smokey quartz pendant giveaway!so please sign up and leave a comment on the giveaway post and I will draw the winner monday afternoon/evening time.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
I love memes, I love filling them out and I love reading them to learn intresting little tidbits about people. Its facinating and fun, and you get to know people better by seeing a bit of what makes them tick.
so here goes 7 random things about me:
1. I love gift cards... but not in the traditional sense, I love blank ones from my favourite shops, I use them as bookmarks (another unhealthy obsession), my favourites are ones from Old Navy and random coffee shops, the Flying Goat in Santa Rosa, California or the Sunflower Cafe in Sonoma, California the very first Starbuck's in Seattle, Wa. and a card pilfered from Bloomingdale's in San Francisco ( I nearly gave it to Katy but then I thought she might think I'm a total wierdo) . I have converted H who collects them where every we go, often times I just ask if I can have one and they will give them too me, I'm not sure if that is enabling me or not.
2. I'm a somewhat reformed rock hound, I used to collect all sorts of rocks and stones, arrowheads, crystals, fossils, even washed up bits of glass on the beach. I have more expensive tastes now, and just collect semi-precious beads and chunky sterling silver and semi-precious gemstone pendants. but my eyes still search the ground whenever we go for walks and especially when we go to the beach.
3. I was a rather melancholy child, sitting reading Stephen King novels instead of playing at recess time at school. The stand (unabridged) is still one of my favourite novels that I re-read every few years. I probably would have been a goth if it didn't take so much work to be pale and interesting and dressed in black. I'm more of a moral grey area type of girl than that.. though I must admit my reading tastes tend to go dark side a bit.. and my movie tastes too...
4. The X-Files brought me and M together. And is the reason we named our cat Starbuck, though most people assume its for the coffee, actually he is names Starbuck because its Scully's nickname from her father.
5. I wanted to be a girl Indiana Jones for years when I was little, but as I got older I realized he is actually a rather crap archaeologist, though I still adore the moves and M just bought me the new boxed set. H has been running around the house singing/humming the theme music, its adorable.
6. I once had a cat named Daisy, named after my favorite TV character at the time Daisy Duke from the Dukes of Hazard of course I think I was 5.
7. When we moved into this house, sitting in its lovely little close but I couldn't help think what it would be like if the zombies came like at the beginning of Dawn of the Dead. So now you know what a total geek I am.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
....to show you the pictures of my little craft table from Sunday's craptacular pamper fair. At least Little Scrap Owl hid in my art box and popped out to survey that I had done a decent job of displaying my jewellery and art. The he made a little nest out of some bubble wrap and discarded tags and went to sleep. I wouldn't have minded but he did snore a bit, it might have been what kept people away from the event.
I thought the stall looked nice and I did get a few compliments on my vintage book page art and the use of book pages to display my jewellery on. I was quite proud of my sign as well, its a magnetic frame from Ikea that M helped me print a sign for me Meridian Ariel art, craft & jewellery design by Apryl Lowe.. it looked professional-ish.. at least for me.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
5cm x 5cm stone tiles (they come in sheets from your local tile or DIY shop)
magnets (as many as you have tiles)
1x tube superglue (or all purpose crafting glue)
1x can varnish spray
Step one: remove a tile from the sheet of backing it is stuck to. Clean and leave to dry out.
Step two: sketching your design. I sketched directly onto the tile, but you can draw your design onto some tracing paper and transfer it to your tile. Alternatively if you don’t draw or sketch you can used rubber stamps to stamp on a design.
Step three: paint your design using acrylic paints. I used them because I normally use acrylics in my art, they dry quickly and are pretty durable.
Step four: I sprayed my tiles with an acrylic varnish (2 coats)
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
I have been wanting to do another giveaway for awhile now, and as yesterday was such a bust I spent the whole time I was at the fair making a few more pieces of jewellery and made two more pendants identical to this one. With Christmas come soon I thought it would make a lovely present to give or something to keep and wear when going out.
All that I ask is that you leave me a nice comment (I could do with a bit of cheering up) and tell me about something you plan make this Christmas Season or what you want Santa to bring you.
I will draw a winning name next Monday!
Sunday, 16 November 2008
there were a lot of stall holders but no people really. Some of stalls closed down early and went home... I stayed till the end but only made one sale, to the main organizer of the event. I think she felt sorry for me. Everyone felt really down about the event after all the effort to organize it. I was supposed to give a percentage of my sales to the school but I only sold the one bracelet, to the main PTA lady and she wouldn't have me give the money in... so I bought a few snacks to at least give some money back to the school.
My only other pet peeve at the event, aside from it being a ghost town, was that i was next to one of those stalls selling shitty- glittery tat from China. "Any item of rhinestone encrusted crap, that will tarnish your skin and fall apart on the first wear for a fiver."
p.s. my little table did look nice but you will have to wait a few days for pictures as M has the camera, and my computer is poorly again... *sigh*
Saturday, 15 November 2008
more to come soon as desperately trying to finish stuff off for tommorow.
why has this image turned out so big? I'm not getting along with blogger at the moment.
Friday, 14 November 2008
The Thursday Night project is an ongoing community crafting project through Crafteroo and
smokey quartz and onyx pendant
I probably should have gotten more done last night than I did, but I had to help M book flights for visiting the states in the spring, and it took a lot longer to sort out than we had hoped. But its sorted now we fly from Heathrow to Seattle on the first of April, then the next morning (our Anniversary) we get to spend 6 hours driving across Washington State to get to my parents home in Idaho. I can't wait.
The chunky faceted smokey quartz featured at the top of this blog post is one of those happy accidents, I ordered the beads because they were on offer, what I didn't pay attention to was how big they were, I knew they were rough, which is what I wanted and I have completely fallen in love with them and want to order more, as I hope I can sell a few pieces this weekend in order to buy more of these beads so I can justify keeping a bracelet for myself.. as it is I may just have to keep the pendant and wear that on Sunday as I set up and mind my jewellery an art stall. M says the beads look like something Betty Rubble or Wilma Flintstone might wear, but I think they are beautiful.