Monday, 21 May 2012


My Monday project for Kirsty was to make her a Mollie Dollie from the latest issue of Mollie Makes.  It looked pretty easy and I had all the fabric and notions to put her together so thought it would be a walk in the park.  Not quite - it is actually really fiddly and when you have a 3 year old asking every 5 minutes if Mollie is ready yet it makes for a long morning.  Anyway - I persevered and happily handed her over to Kirsty who announced that I was just the best Mum.  What more can you ask for. 

Monday, 14 May 2012

For the love of wood

For so many years now I have wanted to learn the craft of woodworking but have just never seemed to have the time to get round to it.  I love wood - the feel of it, the look of it, even the smell of it.  Each piece of wood is so unique and you almost get the feeling it could tell a few stories if it could talk.  A couple of weeks ago I found a tutorial on for a beautiful but very rustic sofa table.  I knew straightaway that this had to be my first project.  We live in an old Victorian house and all our radiators are the genuine deal - big, bulky, cast iron and gun metal grey.  I appreciate their authenticity but they are not pretty to look at and we have a big one right in our entrance.  There is just not a lot I could do to disguise it until country girl home came to my rescue.  I came up with the plan to make my table to fit over the radiator  and while you would still see the radiator underneath it, it would allow me to add some interest to the hallway.  I mentioned in passing to my husband that I was going to make a table and he looked at me strangely but knows better than to say too much.  He watched with mounting doubt as I arrived home with my pieces of wood, screws, brackets, varnish etc.  My 5 year old son, however was over the moon - his Mum was really a builder!!  Hubby went off on a business trip for the week and I set to work - not really thinking through how I was going to manage on my own.  I spent a lot of time sanding each piece down using my mini sander - not too difficult yet.  The time came to start putting the pieces together and I discovered there is a certain knack to using an electric drill/screwdriver.  The main one being that there is a reverse button for taking screws out which I almost always seemed to have the wrong way round.  The first couple of pieces went together and then it got more difficult to hold each piece square and drill at the same time so I had to wait for my 5 year old assistant to come home from school to help hold the pieces.  We got the base finished and the first coat of walnut varnish on for hubby's arrival home. " That looks nice", he said "are you going to put a top on it"?  No comment!!  I bought a beautiful piece of wood for the top, fixed it on, finished off with the walnut stain and ta da .... my first woodwork project.  I have no doubt that a purist would look at the table and find many, many faults but for me it is the feeling of achievement that makes it all worthwhile - and it is straight, square and strong and very, very rustic. 


Now you know why I had to do something!!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Enjoying our little bit of summer

After weeks and weeks of rain we have had some long overdue sunshine this weekend and how we have all enjoyed it.  The kids have played contentedly outside, hubby has been happy because the barbecue has been put to good use and I have spent a good few hours in the garden.  Absolutely lovely!!
As a treat to myself for all the back breaking weeding and broken nails I made some lovely fresh scones.  This is my Mum's recipe, although I have changed it slightly to suit what was in my cupboard.  You can't get much more summery that a cup of tea, a scone with strawberry jam and slathered with our famously good clotted cream.

Here is the recipe for Super Quick Scones

Monday, 7 May 2012

Shortbread Hearts

These shortbread biscuits are lovely and buttery and for an added bit of luxury you could dip them in some melted chocolate.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Gypsy Creams

These are lovely crisp, oaty biscuits ideal for dunking in a cup of tea. Great with or without the butter icing and the kids love them,

Friday, 4 May 2012

Just one of those weeks

Kindle cover

You know those days when you wake up in the morning and things just don't go right - well I have had a few of them this week.  Last Sunday started off well - I even got to do some sewing.  I decided to make a cover for my Kindle and chose an embroidery design from  I liked the design because I thought it was quite funny although not altogether true as my hubby does do more than his fair share around the house.  I used a piece of felt which is thick enough to offer some protection and doesn't require any finishing off.  On the back I inserted a magnetic fastener to keep the Kindle from falling out.  Easy!!  Later that evening I was doing my usual surfing on the Internet and next thing my computer was going crazy - yup - I somehow managed to end up with a Trojan Virus.
The next few days were spent trying to get things back to normal without losing too much data.  Thankfully the important things like family photos were all backed up so not too much damage.  I have now made a vow to myself to backup every week because there really is no second chance with these viruses - they are horrible!!  Anyway - after a long week my hubby and I decided to go for a nice breakfast after dropping the kids off to school.  Sitting, waiting for our meal I glanced out the window and watched as a large delivery van reversed into the front of my car.  The damage is not too bad but I guess most of next week will be spent trying to sort out the insurance claim for something that was not even my fault.  I could think of a hundred better things I would rather be doing.  Oh well - let's hope the sun shines next week.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Homemade Sausage Rolls

One of my earliest childhood memories with regard to food is my Mum's homemade sausage rolls.  They are perfect for lunch or just as a snack.  It is probably the recipe that I am most often asked for and yet there really is no recipe.  When I tell people that it is just puff pastry and sausage meat they still insist on a recipe.  So - here is a step by step guide to making delicious sausage rolls

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


I made the mistake of leaving these out on the kitchen top and the kids ate the lot!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Passion Fruit Curd

I pinned this lovely recipe on Pinterest and was lucky enough to find some Passion Fruit at my local grocery store. I have always been a fan of lemon curd and have tried many other flavours but have always been disappointed with the lack of flavour.  This recipe does not disappoint in any way!!  I usually eat my curd on a slice of warmly buttered toast in the morning but it can also be  used in cake fillings.  I chose to strain the pips out and am so glad I did - so lovely and creamy. 
A must make if you like passion fruit!! 

Friday, 20 April 2012

McCall's M5446 Pirate costume review

Last Friday (has taken me a while to publish this post!!) the kids enjoyed a fun day at school dressed up as their favourite book character for World Book Day. Sean (5) chose to go as Captain Hook so we set off to my local fabric store to see what we could come up with. He chose a red, heavy weight cotton fabric for the jacket and a fun black and red pirate print for the jacket trim. I had plenty of white fabric at home for the shirt. We chose the McCall's pattern because it had the jacket which every pirate captain has to have. The pattern itself is not cheap - costing just over £8.00. The jacket needs 1.05m plus an extra 1.15m for the trim. The shirt is another 1.15m. Altogether this is not a cheap option but it is different to the mass produced versions out there.

It is probably over 10 years since I last used a pattern to sew from so it felt a bit strange and probably took me a bit longer than someone a bit more experienced. I would also say that this pattern is not for the feint hearted. If you are not an experienced seamstress you may find the collars tricky on both the jacket and the shirt. There is a lot of detail but if you persevere it does look great when you have finished. On the jacket I added some elastic at the back waist line to pull it in a bit and give a bit more shape and also a hook and eye at the front fastening just to keep it together. Instead of eyelets on the shirt I just did some small buttonholes and used a cord with metal ends (from a used paper bag) for the shirt tie.

Positives - looks great and is different to anything in the shops
Negatives - expensive, time consuming

For the black hair I sewed strands of thick black wool/yarn into the rim of the hat and for the boots I painted an old pair of wellies with some black matt emulsion paint.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Raspberry breakfast bars

Woke up this morning to more rain ..... that lovely soft rain that makes you feel like getting under a nice cosy blanket with a good book, steaming hot chocolate and something a little bit naughty to dunk in the hot chocolate.  The reality is a little bit different - ending up slightly damp and dishevelled after walking the kids to school does not a happy lady make.  Anyway I decided to come home and bake something which I had pinned on Pinterest last night and I have to say that the smell of these raspberry bars baking in the oven was just heavenly.  The recipe can be found on  Having tasted them I think I would probably add a bit more sugar to the raspberry filling mixture.  For those not in the USA - the quantity of butter is 175g.

All wrapped and ready for the school lunch boxes

Friday, 30 March 2012

Lady Llama

I had a very strange request this morning from my daughter (3yrs) - Mum please can you make sleeping bags for my babies.  Now normally I would jump at the chance to make something different but Kirsty doesn't just have one or two babies - she has whole families.  I couldn't quite face running up 20+ plain old sleeping bags and remembered that she had seen a picture of some felt Llama brooches in the latest edition of my Mollie Makes mag and thought that I may be able to appease her by making one of them instead.  Much more fun for me!!  I had all the supplies at home so it was a fairly quick and easy project.  I proudly handed over my Lady Llama and stood back to wait for my hug.  Wow Mum!! thanks for my caterpillar.  Did you make my sleeping bags?  I should have know better and worse still as I look at the cute Lady Llama I am thinking she looks a tad lonely all by herself and could do with a family of Llamas to keep her company.

To find the full size templates for this project and instructions go to
Double click on the magazine for Issue 12 and then go to
page 2

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

How to make an Easter Egg Pinata

The kids have been asking for their own Pinata for ages now but we have never had an excuse to go out and buy one.  I thought Easter would be the perfect time to try one out for ourselves.  The thought of the kids bashing away at a cute bunny or Easter chick slightly disturbed me so we opted for an 'easy' egg shape.  The kids had great fun making this - thick gloopy glue and paper - lovely!!

If you fancy trying this out

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Burlap flower

Burlap seems to be all the rage at the moment and I do love the rustic look that it gives.  I had to make some curtains for the kids new playhouse so decided to try and see how easy it would be to sew with the burlap.  I ran up a pair of curtains and decided to do the tie backs in the burlap with a little flower decoration.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Chocolate Heaven

A beautiful Spring weekend and this time we have managed two barbecues without any downpours.  I had a special request from the kids for chocolate cupcakes - how can a Mother resist!!  To follow the recipe

Sunday, 18 March 2012

♥♥Happy Mothers Day♥♥

 What a lovely day - to wake up with my two little ones bringing me their handmade cards and two bags of chocolates which 'had to be shared' straightaway.  I spent my morning making some cupcakes with pretty little pink and purple butterflies.  Lunch looked like it might be a lovely spring affair with the barbecue lit for the first time this year but sadly as hubby was half way through grilling the meat the heavens opened and the hail descended.  Still managed to have a nice family lunch with our special cupcake treat afterwards.

These cupcakes are so easy and foolproof.  For the simple recipe

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sketch challenge

This weeks challenge on Less is More is a sketch where they give us the basic outline which we have to follow.

Earlier this week I had made this origami heart bookmark and thought I could incorporate it into this weeks challenge. 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Cut it Out challenge

This weeks challenge on Less is More is to cut out an aperture on the card.  I have to admit to struggling with this one a bit.  I always try to make my own card before having a peep at everyone elses card so that I am not influenced.  I made a card earlier this week and was just about to add my link when I had a peep at Craftilicious's entry.  All I can say is that we both had the same idea but mine was not a patch on the cute lovebots entry.  After a couple of days I decided to have another go and came up with this card for my hubby on Valentines Day. 

I just love this little Steampunk key with the little heart

I first cut out a heart frame using chipboard and my Sizzix Hearts die.  I then distressed this slightly using Vintage Sepia ink.  Using the frame as a guide I then cut out my aperture on my card.  I tied the key to the heart frame and fixed with a chocolate brown ribbon bow.  The sentiment was done in Word and printed in Sepia.  I used a touch of red card under my sentiment to give it a bit of colour.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Birds - One Layer challenge

This week on Less is More the challenge is birds but with only one layer.  As I have never tried stamping before I had to make a trip to my local hobbycraft shop to try and find a 'bird' stamp.  There was not a lot of choice but I eventually settled on this one as it had a happy feeling about it. I couldn't quite get over the price for the stamp though - ouch.  I might have to stick to using digistamps after this.

I used the following:
Funstamps - Puddle Duck stamped in black directly onto white cardstock.  Coloured with a selection of Promarkers.  Sentiment printed from Word directly onto the card.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Predominantly Purple Challenge

One of my favourite blogs to browse through has to be Less is More.  I love their concept of keeping it clean and simple.  My challenge this year is to try new crafts so when I saw that their challenge this week was purple I had to try it out.  Not even sure if I know how to link back to the challenge but I'll give it a go.

I used the Sizzix flower layers #9 die to cut the flower head with a 3D flower stick on in the middle.  I cut the leaves out free hand.  My sentiment is from the Pink Petticoat Boutique.  I then tied coordinating purple ribbon down the side to finish it off.  Definitely simple but hopefully with a bit of practise I can improve on my skills for future challenges.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Paper Gift Bags

n my quest to try out different projects featured in my (many) magazines I thought I would give the baby box a try which is featured in the Feb edition of Crafts Beautiful - after all - how difficult can a paper bag be?  Well I couldn't even get through the first paragraph!  Not to be defeated, I had a look on google to see if I could find an easier way but each one I tried was just a mess when it came to the bottom folds.  I eventually took one of my bought bags apart and tried to copy the folds to see if I could master it.  Hey presto - nice neat folds giving a professional look to my gift bags.  I have loads of patterned paper which is given away in the craft magazines so made up a few bags to have on hand. 

All the time I was trying out my bags and creating a mound of wasted paper by 5 year old son was working away on his own paper project.  A masterpiece - a paper guitar with paper strings and even a paper plectrum.  I can't fault his enthusiasm and thought process but I think we are seriously keeping the paper industry going.  Better than sitting in front of the TV anyday!!

Play it again Sean

Music sheet on the floor with a 'wonky' music stand next to it.

For a step by step tutorial on how to make these paper bags

Friday, 6 January 2012

Thanks a bunch

A lovely lady over in France sent me some waffle weave fabric so I thought I would make a thank you card to send over to her.  I still have some of the lilac card blanks which I got in this month's CB magazine so once again used an image stamp from Pink Petticoat Boutique which I coloured with my Promarker pens.  I then used my die cutter and the Spellbinders Labels One to cut the image out and then using a piece of coordinating cardstock I cut a slightly larger label.  I then used a sentiment from Pink Petticoat to 'pop' through the cut out and finally added a couple of 3D flower embellishements to add a bit of bling.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Years Resolution

It is that time of year when we look forward to the year ahead and make all our resolutions.  This year I have decided to try lots of different crafts and to try and use up my stash of goodies which just seems to accumulate in my craft room.  I love reading craft magazines and books but just never seem to get around to trying any of the projects so this is my year for trying new things.

 In this month's Crafts Beautiful magazine there was a great free gift with some card blanks and die cut butterflies so I decided to try out a birthday card for a friend.  I added an extra set of wings which I cut a little bit smaller than the original and stuck them on for a 3D effect.  I added some faux stitching around the edges and some glitter for the body. I then used a sentiment from my favorite digistamp website - which I applied inside the card with 3D foam so that it shows through the cutout in the card. 
Happy birthday Annabelle.