Fathers Day – Modern Embroidered Hand Silouettes gift idea

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Personalized Fathers Day Gift

For Dad

For Fathers Day, for my husband, I’m going to try something different. I will be making something sentimental rather than purchasing something already gift wrapped from the store.

So, my idea is to mount and frame an embroidery of my husbands and my sons hands using the contour lines. One inside the other. With an appropriate quote like ‘always close at hand’ or ‘in safe hands’… You get the idea. I would like it in a black and white theme with the mount painted with finger marks in a grey/white.

I will post my results a bit later on in the week. Whether this ends up exactly as I’ve described is another thing. I do tend to tweak as I go along. So come back here soon to see what it’s like. Can’t wait to start. Leave a comment if you have any ideas for fathers day. Would love to hear them!

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Quick and Easy Chilled Pasta Salad with Bacon – Recipe

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Pasta Salad Recipe

Tasty!

Ok, so I needed a recipe for cold pasta salad that wasn’t too …fussy. I did search google for recipes, cause I wasn’t too confident with flavours at the time. But came up with nothing that really appealed and fit what I needed; which was to satisfy many different taste buds for a BBQ. So here’s what I threw together. Simple flavours, but big on taste! Leave a comment if you try this. I’d love to know what you think.

Serves 8-10 buffet portions

Ingredients
400g Dry weight Cavatappi (spirals)
8 Heaped Tablespoons of Light Mayonnaise (using regular dinner spoon not measuring type) Approx 600g
340g Drained Salad Crisp Green Giant™ Sweet corn (large can)
5 Large Spring Onions
12 Rashers of Streaky (or any that you prefer) Bacon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Large pinch of Paprika

Directions
Cook pasta and bacon in your usual, preferred way. Pasta should not be overcooked. Drain pasta and let sit to cool in the drainer, washing with cool water to help speed up the process. Let bacon cool on a plate.

Roughly chop the onion and place in a large mixing bowl along with the sweetcorn. Add cold pasta and mayo and lightly mix together, being careful not to break up the pasta shapes. Sprinkle on most of paprika.

Using scissors or a knife if you prefer, cut the bacon into slithers over the pasta mix. Stir to incorporate the bacon, add more mayo with you feel you need it. Place pasta salad into a container with a lid and finish off with a sprinkling of paprika all over. Cover and store in a fridge.

Best eaten 3+ hours after making, to give the mayonnaise a chance to absorb the flavours otherwise it can taste really eggy.

You could substitute the bacon for ham or chicken. Spring onion can be subbed with chives too. When including any meat, please make sure it has cooled thoroughly before you mix into your pasta mix.

Cake recipe – Best used with fondant icing

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Yummy cake mix

Ingredients
225g Softened Butter
225g Caster Sugar
4 Medium Eggs
2 tbsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
170g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda (Baking Soda)

Directions
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line your cake tin with butter and place a sheet of baking paper on the bottom. This recipe is enough for a round 9″ pan.

~Using an electric mixer combine butter and sugar until light and pale. Add eggs one at a time, mix well between eggs. Stir in vanilla and set aside.

Into a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder and soda together. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture in several batches adding milk in-between batches. Mix only until you can’t see any flour.

Set out into cake pan and bake for around 35-40mins or until springy to touch. Set out onto cooling rack before decorating. Don’t cut the cake until the it has cooled or you’ll loose alot of moisture.

Never open the door to the oven until at most ten minutes before recommended baking time or your cake may sink.

This recipe was used in baking this Mickey Mouse cake.

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.

Planting first seeds this year for veg plot

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First of my seeds planted

27 April

I’m super-excited to say I planted my first few seeds to start my raised bed with. Hopefully my hubby will build my raised bed this weekend or before. I just can’t wait to get started. I still need to buy quite a few supplies to help along the way.

My lovely Aunt gave me a head start by supplying me with seeds and pots, and even some books to read! Isn’t she lovely?! I think I somehow agreed to crochet a scarf for her tho in return. lol. I don’t mind tho =] She gave me Sweet peppers, chilli peppers, tomatoes in different varieties and runner beans to plant now. The romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce and mixed salad leave will have to wait as they need to be planted where they are to be cropped. Thanks Aunty!

Anyways, back to planting. As you can tell by the picture, I have used recycled grape and tomato containers to create a makeshift propagator. I put several seeds in each pot. I shall pull out any that are really weedy looking. I just hope that it’s right! I only placed one seed of the bigger runner beans. I used an egg box for these, as I want to try planting straight into the ground in the box. Anyone else tried this?

Now placed in a really sunny spot on my kitchen shelf. They should do really well before I re-home them in my garden. I shall be using mostly reclaimed building materials to make my raised bed. My only fear is that it’s too shaded in my back garden and I’ll get zip veggies! I get early morning and late evening sun. Any advice would be great!?

Crochet – Coaster / Cover for alfresco dinning – Quick project

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Stash Buster Project

Beaded Coaster or Cover

So, I was given a free book of crochet patterns. It was from the May 2010 ‘Let’s Knit’ Issue. I hadn’t picked up a crochet hook for a long time. Since I struggled to complete a blanket for my unborn son at the time. But as this seemed quite quick, I referred to my ‘how to’ book of crocheting and finished it in a flash! These would make excellent stocking fillers. You could easily convert them to look Christmas-ee. Sorry I mentioned the ‘C’ word already. But hey, you gotta be prepared. So many crafting options, so little time.

The beads I used were glass, but I should have used more or chosen a heavier bead so that they would weigh it down to bring out the shape better. You could, of course, use any colour combination. I just used what I had, and I just happened to only have white in 4 ply. The suggest you can use ribbon, but you could use any yarn you like. Just choose an appropriate hook and if your yarn or yarn substitute  is much thicker then make reduce the amount of rounds you make.

If you missed this issue and would like to get this pattern. It can be found in the book ‘Two Balls or Less’ by Jenny Hill. It’s RRP is about £12.99 and has over 30 simple crochet and knitting projects.

As an added note, the hook used is 3.5mm.

Fusing Plastic – My attempts so far

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Fusing Plastic, is not so, fantastic!

Supplies

Armed with my plastic bag supplies, which consist of Asda, Superdrug and Card Factory. Chosen mainly for their colours. Green and Pink =D . I followed the guides of the likes on youtube.com but it didn’t really go all that well. I think I may have had my iron on too high. Although, some tutorials were saying you need  8 ply, others were saying that’s not necessary, and that you can have the iron on full, others on a wool setting. Other than the slight difference in opinions, I thought that the general ‘rules’ of fusing the plastic were fairly easy.

I did start with a cool setting, such as the wool temp on my iron. I used the recommended baking paper and made sure the inked side of the plastic was always topped by another plastic to stop bleeding.

A few passes with the iron on Wool for about 15-20 seconds, but it seemed to do nothing at all. So I turned up the dial and it seemed as though the plastic just didn’t want to fuse together.

Until… it all went horribly wrong and started to shrink at a rapid rate. You can see my results below. Any tips would be great. I really would like another crack at this. As I’d like to make myself a knitting bag using the ‘plastic fabric’. But at the moment. I’m passing this one by. Like I said, any tips on where I may have gone wrong. Also, there doesn’t seem to be much guide on whether some plastics don’t like other plastics and just WON’T fuse together, rather melt upon each other leaving air pockets galore, like in my case. I was disappointed with the results overall, but I did like the composition. You live and learn!

The results

I also wanted to experiment with yarn fibres fused inside. If anyone’s had success with this (or not), please let me know.

Knitted Hair accessory – Embellished with button Bow

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Knitted Hair Bow

Bow

Hope you like my latest crafty project. Including the time to figure out the pattern and write it down, this took about 10 minutes. It can be attached to any kind of hair accessory base. Hair clip, band, barrettes, slide, …you get the idea.

The yarn I used was a random ball from my stash. I’m not entirely sure of the yarn type but it is very similar to kid mohair. It felts very easily, but this will only help stabilize the design.

The pattern I used is below. Let me know if you use it. I’d love to see your take on it. Btw, I use standard abbreviations in my patterns. So you can refer to any knitting magazine or book if you’re not familiar with the terms.

Kfb = Knit into the front and back of stitch. This increases your row.

What you’ll need
10mm Knitting Needles
Mohair or similar yarn
Hair accessory base

Pattern
C/o 2sts (make sure you leave at least an 8in tail, this is used to attach your button later, and used to attatch to your hair accesories)
1- kfb, kfb [4sts]
2- kfb, k2, kfb [6sts]
3- k2tg, k2, k2tg [4sts]
4- k2tg, k2tg [2sts]
5-  k2tg [1st]

Keep last st on needle

c/o 1st
Repeat Rows 1-5, cut yarn leaving 8in to fasten off, threading back through to the centre of the bow with both tails.

Position button in the middle of your bow and sew on using the tails of yarn. Pull tight and secure at back.

To attach to your clip or slide, use a multi-purpose glue that sticks fabric and metal, HT2 would be a good choice.

More pictures

yarn type

Another View

Easy Craft Project – Felt Egg Cosy Cactus Fun for Kids

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Quick Cactus Egg Cosy

Egg Cosy

If you would like to try this project here are the directions to make one cosy.

What you’ll need
2.5″ x 9″ Green Felt
Scraps of Coloured Felt for the Flower
Selection of Embroidery Thread in Beige and another coloured thread.
45 Silver Lined Sead Beads or whatever colour you would like
Felting Needle will help with the hand sewing, they are pyramid-shaped.
Templates Below


Directions
Cut out 3 arches that measure 3″ in width and 2.5″ in height. These templates should print out to size. Read the rest of this entry

Mother Bear Project – Knitted Bear – Charity

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On its way!

yippee.. one down!

I finally got around to finishing this bear. I’m super happy with it, and glad it has been posted out today. My son adored it and tried to cuddle it while I was still knitting! That just made me think of how I just had to get it finished in time for this weekends post. So it can be safely delivered into a child’s arms.

This is the first ‘Mother Bear Project’ Bear I’ve completed, but it’s not the last. I will knit a ‘boy’ bear next, I think. Any suggestions on the outfit would be fab!

Give Your Green Parties a Vintage Vibe with This Sweet Serving Tray : Planet Green

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Vintage heaven

Super idea for a recycling project. Why not raid your Nan’s kitchen cupboard for supplies for this cake stand?

Give Your Green Parties a Vintage Vibe with This Sweet Serving Tray : Planet Green

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Knitting for Charity – Squares for Children’s Blankets and Other Little Projects

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Want to Knit-a-square?

Use up Odd Balls of Yarn

I stumbled across this organization Knit-a-square. With our help they provide warm blankets and clothing for sick children in South Africa.

There are lots of patterns to choose from too, such as hats, vests, jumpers and pull overs. If you are very creative you can share your own pattern too.

You don’t need to know how to knit to contribute to this project. If you have any old wool clothing or find any in the charity shops, you can felt them and cut the 8×8″ squares out of the felted fabric. Just by washing and using a dryer you can felt a knitted garment. This mats the fibres so when you cut the fabric it won’t fray or unravel.

It doesn’t matter what type of yarn you have. But take a look at their advice on what to use if you want to contribute to a heart warming cause.

Let me know if you have contributed already. If you have any pictures to share of your donations I would be happy to add them to this blog post!

Happy Knitting.

Patchwork Square Pincushion – Ideal Gift

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Make a pincushion

Click to Enlarge

I was asked to make a pincushion for my Aunt. Her favourite colours are black and white so that gave me my starting block. I think choosing fabric, is sometimes the hardest bit. I knew how I wanted it to look, so I winged it from there.

This is a rough guide to how it was made. It really is a simple design tho, let me know if you try this.

What you’ll need
½ metre (roughly) Ribbon
1 or 2 Buttons
2-3 Different Patterned Fabric (I used quilting cotton)
3.5″ square of Felt (any colour, but try not to be too contrasting if you can see it through the fabric)
Coordinating Sewing thread
Toy stuffing
Quilting Square (optional, but easier)
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Sewing For Pleasure Exhibition March 2010

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Crafting Goodies

My Goodies

This huge exhibition has so many talented artists and many interesting crafts to explore.

My favourite stall holder was 21st Century Yarns, with their hand dyed yarns and cloth. I am going to be using these threads for a few different projects. A silk embroidered hand/clutch bag, an embellished cushion.

I also purchased some 100% cotton yarn,  hand dyed in Chile by Araucanía Yarns. It’s a smooth thick yarn, pictured in blue, black and green. Can’t wait to make myself and my son a snuggly scarf with the lush one-off hanks. Each one sold creates more opportunities for the local people of Chile, bringing new skills, jobs and hope fr the future.

Check back here soon to see what I make of these super lush fabrics.

Home Baked Gift Ideas. Printable Free Butterscotch and Gingersnaps Cookie Recipe

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Gingersnap and Butterscotch Cookie Recipe Gift Box

Yum!

This is a super cool way of giving home-made cookies as a gift. You can recycle containers or gift boxes you have received. If you have the budget you could use a mixing bowl as your ‘basket’ and line with tissue paper. See below for more ideas for your ‘basket’.

To pad out a very deep bowl or basket you can roll tissue paper into flattened balls and stick them with very small pieces of double sided tape just to anchor them. Cover with shredded tissue or a raffia and layer your cookies on top.

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Knitting Terms and Size Charts – UK – US

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Yarn and Needle sizes

It’s important to know that you’re using the right sized tools when doing any project. Here are some terms and size charts used when Knitting.

Knitting Needle Sizes Read the rest of this entry

Scarf Embellishment with Sequins and Beads

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Enhancing a simple knit scarf

Click to enlarge

A little project I was asked to do was to jazz up this hand knit scarf. A few sequins and beads later I came up with this. It’s quite a trend to have sequins sewn onto knitted accessories so for sure this is not ‘new’. But if you do this yourself it will definitely be unique.

To do this technique tie your sewing thread to the scarf where you would like the sequin. Thread your sequin and bead onto the needle and push to the fabric. Thread the needle back through the sequin and tie off below. Try not to go too deep through the scarf as you don’t want the thread showing on the other side. If your sequins aren’t too spaced you can do more than one at a time by threading your cotton through the scarf so that it can’t be seen. Do several of these and tie off securely.

Add some tassel with leftover yarn from your project. Add in a bit of coloured yarn to tie in the colours and you have a completely overhauled scarf!

Super Easy – Cheese and Potato Bake!

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Yummy Potato Bake

Cheesy Potato Bake!

Ingredients
4 Large potatoes
1 Medium Cooking Onion
200g Cheese
3-4 Medium Tomatoes
1 Large Tin Corned Beef

Directions
Peel and chop potatoes and onion and place in a pan and boil until cooked.

While the potatoes cook you can grate the cheese, slice tomatoes and dice the corned beef.

Once potatoes are ready turn on your oven to 190°C. Drain potatoes and mash-up. Add in ¾ of the cheese and the diced corned beef. Stir until well combined.

Place in an oven proof dish. Glass or ceramic will work best. Place sliced tomatoes on, covering entire top. Sprinkle on leftover cheese.

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FujiFilm finepix – Knitted Camera Case Free Pattern

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Knit your own case

FUJIFILM FINEPIX Case

A cute little case for your Fuji camera. This only takes a couple hours at the most, including sewing on some decoration and adding the snap fasteners.

The stitches you need to know are casting on, knit, purl and casting off. If you don’t know how to do any of these stitches I advise you to search for a video tutorial. YouTube is usually a good source for this.

This is an ideal gift because you can use left over yarns and spare sequins and beads from other projects to decorate.

Here is how I did it.

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Knitted Coat Vintage Pattern – Hayfield Yarn

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Pink Striped Matinée Coat

Matinee Coat

Finally finished this awesome matinée coat. I posted about the yarn previously. Here are some images of the coat close up. Not sure if I shall do the bonnet yet but I will probably do the mittens soon.

The King Cole pattern used is pictured below. It just shows you can make an old pattern really modern with great choice of yarn. I was really pleased that this knitted up as stripes as I have a fixation with stripes. Can’t get enough!

King Cole Vintage Pattern

Can’t wait to gift this to my niece.

Coat Front

Coat Back