Tag Archives: birthday

Felt Bookmarks with Embroidery detail and Applique Gift idea

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Gift for an avid reader!

Veteran Remembrance Poppy

Jacobean Peony Flower

These 2 bookmarks were made for my Grandparents. My Grandad is a WWII veteran and his father was in WWI. So a gift to show we still remember what they gave was lovingly received. My Nan, she just loves her flowers. At a risk of being boring or predictable, I designed a Peony flower in a Jacobean style. I guess it could also pass for a rose too. However, I thin it worked out looking nice. Let me know what you think below in the comments!

I want to share some tips with you about working with felt. Although I’m a relative newcomer to felt. I have taken some time working with it. Especially embroidering. It’s not too hard to embroider onto, altho if you tug at the work the felt will, over time distort. The worst is, you probably won’t notice until it’s too late and you’ve done all the hard work. Soooo.. my tip is to work with a piece larger than you intend to use for the end result. That way, the edges you’ve been gripping during any sewing will be trimmed off and you’ll have a lovely neat finish.

If your felt is thin or the acrylic type. You might want to strengthen the overall design by sandwiching a light card in between another piece of the felt. Sew close to the edge of the card. so that it’s trapped inside. A thin layer of PVA glue between the layers is a good idea too.

To finish I topped them with a button, and on my Nan’s, a bit of ribbon from my stash. These are around 6.5″ x 2.5″ in size. The poppy design ended up being a smidge taller due to the script.

The stitches used are, running stitch, satin stitch, back stitch, heavy chain, trellis, split stitch, french knot and fly stitch.

Any questions about these bookmarks are welcome, please comment below!

Appliquéd

Poppy close up

My Mission – Minnie Mouse Cake Pops – Birthday Gift

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Not as easy as they look!

Cute and tasty!

I made it my mission to make some Minnie mouse cake pops. However, I didn’t anticipate this to be as frustrating as it was. With the overall waiting for the cake to cook, fair enough, but there was soooo much waiting for things to cool, set or cook. I was getting rather tired of doing them.

I followed instructions from another website that sounded like they had it in the bag. I started out with 20 cake pops. After lots of hassle with them staying on the stick I went through several techniques in coating these little babies in chocolate. I knew I couldn’t just dunk and pull it out all fresh-as-you-like. Cause the weight of the chocolate would rip the cake ball apart and stay put in your nice bowl of melted chocolate.

In the end the best technique I found was to use a heat proof silicone pastry brush and slowly coat the balls supporting the ball underneath with your hand so it didn’t shift down the stick. Place on its head on grease proof paper and don’t move it until it’s set. You won’t need to refrigerate for it to set. Plus it attracts condensation if you do.

Once I had a thin layer on and it had set and could be peeled from the paper. I was able to coat allot easier due to the chocolate acting like glue and it (mostly) stayed put. Your next layer of chocolate should include placing the ears on. I used chocolate buttons. Don’t bother trimming the side off like some websites tell you. This only inhibits the attaching part, which frankly is quite important! =D Push the ears in after the second coat of chocolate, as this will soften the previous layer just enough to help with that. Otherwise they just break up! These are then to be stood up on their sticks to set, a block of Styrofoam is useful here. A useful tip I did pick up is to make use of a cocktail stick. Just to pick define areas like the ears and to move the chocolate and to remove any excess. I coated mine until I was happy with them. Or at least, not so disappointed!

You only need to make them around 1 inch diameter at first, as the chocolate layers bulk them out. I was worried I wouldn’t get them inside the cellophane bags I had that were 3.5″x5″ I bought from Ebay. I chose 4.5″ lolly sticks or the plastic variety, if they don’t come with, you will need some plastic coated wires too to seal them. On my travels around my local town of Cannock, I picked up some lovely ribbon the I thought was just right, at 20p a meter I wasn’t complaining!

I just cut the ribbon a few inches long and tied once tightly. You could, with thinner ribbon tie a bow. But at this point in the baking and making process, I was ready to give up altogether. In the end, I managed to salvage 11 decent looking Minnie silhouettes. They didn’t taste bad at all either. My 2.5yr old son was happy to eat any disaster pops. Although to be fair they were very rich, so don’t worry if you don’t make a lot. I probably wouldn’t eat more than one at a time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Overall, I’m happy I gave it a go, but I won’t be in a hurry to try this again. Maybe plain round ones with decoration on top to disguise the dodgy coating of chocolate. Let me know if you have tried this and how it worked out.

Knitted Cowl / Buttoned Scarf – How to – using super chunky wool

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Knitted Gifts Fast

Fast knits!

This super chunky knitted scarf took less than a day start to finish. Including figuring the style and making the buttons. The pattern was one I thought of that would work best for this project.

You can use any alternatives but these are what I used and would bode best for this pattern. Plus the quality of the yarn speaks volumes on this project. Ideal as a winter time gift.

Dimensions 7.5″ x 28″

What you need
1 x ball of  Sirdar Denim Ultra Wool (super chunky)
8mm Knitting Needles
3 x 15-18mm Odd but similar sized buttons with preferably 4 sewing holes.
Small piece of colour coordinating Wool Felt to cover buttons
Needle and thread

Directions
Using the 8mm knitting needles
Cast on 18 sts

(Rib pattern row)
[Row 1 -K2, P2 until last 2 stitches, K2]
[Row 2 -P2, K2 until last 2 stitches, P2]
knit Row 2 of rib pattern
knit Row 1 of rib pattern

(Body of scarf)
(right side row)Knit row
Purl row
P2, K14, P2
K2, P14, K2

Continue scarf body pattern until you reach 26″ ending on a wrong side

Knit Row 2 of rib pattern
Knit Row 1 of rib pattern
Knit Row 1 of rib pattern
Knit Row 2 of rib pattern

Cast off and tie in any ends not weaved in.

How it's fastened

The buttons were made using a simple technique. With leftover yarn from the scarf. There should be more than enough if you have good tension.

Cut 3 lengths of yarn at around 8″
3 x 2″ diameter felt circles, or big enough to cover the buttons as pictured.

Tie knots in the centre to make a bobble. Split the yarn so you have 4 tails (see picture below) and thread each through the 4 eyes of the button.

Using small stitches, make a running stitch around circles of felt. Do not knot yet.

Pull slightly on the thread so that it creates a slight dome shape. Place in the prepared knotted wool and button. Pull the thread and make sure the thread covers the back of the button centrally. Tie off the thread after sewing over the felt and yarn to secure the back, as these will be pulled at when used.

Using the picture to help you with placement, use the tails of the buttons to tie onto the rib of the scarf. Making sure they line up with the natural holes created by your stitches.

The three stages of covering the buttons

Threading Technique

Finishing the button

Fondant cake design – jewellery box

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You can’t argue with cake

Jewellery Box Cake

I can’t let a birthday pass without having a bit of cake! I really treasure my Aunt so I thought I’d try something I hadn’t done before and just go with it. She loves a vintage look and feel, so I tried to get that feel. It didn’t turn out as I imagined, or aimed for as I’m not an overly experienced cake decorator. But I was happy with the end result non-the-less. But needless to say, it went down a treat, as it was filled with high quality chocolate butter cream with a vanilla sponge.

To get a box and lid look, you need to use two cake boards. As my cake was 6″ in diameter the ‘lid’ needed to have a matching size of 6″. The one that holds the whole cake should be at least 1″ bigger than the cake so it’s easy to carry. ‘Glue’ the cake to the base with a touch of frosting and cover it all in your fondant base, board and all so it’s hidden.

Pre mix your colours and wash your hands really well as that dye gets everywhere if you’re not careful! You can use a pair of latex gloves if you have some. Let your coloured fondant cool back down as it will stick to your roller if it’s too warm. But don’t let it dry out, cover it with a cup or wrap it in foil. Don’t try to refrigerate it to be quick as this will only make your fondant go horrible! Just be patient, it doesn’t take long to go back to temperature on a cool surface like a chopping board.

I use gel food colouring to dye my fondant. I have only ever used supermarket fondant as I find it perfectly fine to use and it tastes good as well. To get the paisley look I used my round pastry cutters with the fluted edge usually used for mince pies and tarts. I dotted holes around the edge of the shapes to give it some detail and brushed it with gold shimmer dust.

To get a satin inlay inside the box just roll out a sheet of coloured fondant. I folded mine inside to get a luxury feel of fabric, dust with a white shimmer to give it luster. Of course, to make it look like a jewellery box, you need jewellery draping out of the box. I used some strung pearls that you can buy per meter, you only need one meter. I also used some nice sheer ribbon too. Get them to stay put by putting the cut ends between layers of fondant.

Click to enlarge

A tip I like to share when trying to transport your tasty treats, especially ones you’ve worked so hard on! When you only have a container that is just about big enough. Use a triple folded piece of baking paper underneath as pictured – that will go above the sides of your cake to retrieve your cake once inside the tin. Or else you’ll never get it out in one piece!

Happy baking everyone!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme Birthday Cake – How to

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Mickey is number one!

Mickey Cake

For my son’s first birthday (last year) I baked him a Mickey Mouse theme cake. I used 9″ and 6″ cake tins to do this 2 tier cake.

I baked the cake base using this recipe or you could choose your own. You only need 1 and half times the recipe. One for the bottom and half is for the top. I halved my tiers and layered butter cream in the centre. You wouldn’t need to do this. But you will need to make a batch of butter cream to ‘stick’ the fondant to the cake.

To get the top cake, not to sink into the other cake while it’s on top, cause that just wouldn’t be pretty! Use 3 or 4 cut down straws or wooden skewers to the height of the fondant layer. Rest your cake on its own 6″ base or if using a different size tins it should measure the same as your cake so you can’t see it. It will be easier to remove it after for cutting that way. The bottom layer should probably have one at least an inch larger base than the bottom layer cake.

Ok, so you’ve baked your cake and let it cool, added butter cream to the outside and you’ve rolled out the fondant and placed it neatly over the top. Once it’s all smooth and square with the cake, you’ll want to start decorating. I only used supermarket fondant that is fairly cheap, but tasty. With the white you can also dye it any colour you like using gel colours. For mine I’m sure I used Ruby Red, Violet, and Christmas green and licorice black. Of course with any dying process you will have to add a bit at a time to get the colour you want.

The best technique I’ve found for blending the colour the best is by making a well in the white fondant ball and using a cocktail stick to control how much I put in. Place in a small amount and close the well up so the dye is inside. This will help stop the majority of the dye getting straight all over your hands. Cause it doesn’t come off your hands easily. Now roll, just using your hands, the ball into a sausage shape. You want it to be long enough to turn back on itself. Now just rinse and repeat until it is all blended. This method will help stop it sticking all on your hands too. If you add too much dye, try adding icing sugar powder to soak up the extra moisture. Now let the coloured icing sit aside and cool down. You could now dye another batch and so on. Once you have all the colours you want, return to the first colour as it should have cooled enough. Don’t leave it a long time or it will start to dry out. If you plan to use it later that day you can wrap it in cling film to stop it from drying up.

I used letter fondant cutter for his name. The Mickey heads were about 1.5″ in diameter. If you don’t have a tiny cutter for his ears (assuming you don’t just have a mickey mouse cutter) you can roll a small piece into a ball and press into shape straight onto the cake. You may want to test your sizing before going straight to the cake and make all your ear balls before applying them so they are uniform in size.

A way to get your fondant shapes to stick is to use an edible glue or make your own by using good spoon full of icing sugar and add drops of water until a glue consistency. Remember though, it takes more sugar to water to fix it if you put too much water in. So do it gradually.

You can finish of (or hide any messy edges) by using ribbon around the bottom of each layer. Hold in place with a tiny piece of clear tape or like I did using butter cream as a glue.

You should end up with an awesome, but more importantly, handmade cake! Enjoy giving and eating together! Hope you found this guide useful. Let me know if you try this! I love to share others photos too. Post a comment to contact me.