Sunday 29 June 2014

Coconut Macaroons Recipe with Three Variations

Last week a friend and I held our very own DIY homemade Afternoon Tea! We're both very into our tea and cake, so we thought it would be a good idea to both make a selection of goodies to bring along to our afternoon catch up. One of my bakes was a selection of coconut Macaroons- I love them, there's something charmingly old fashioned about them, they are very sweet, moreish and so easy to make. I experimented with three different variations to jazz up the basic mix. Here are the recipes!

Basic Coconut Macaroons recipe- makes 16 

  • 200g Desiccated Coconut
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180oc and grease a baking tray, or line with baking parchment

  1. Add the desiccated coconut and sugar together into a large bowl
  2. Beat the eggs and add them to the bowl with the coconut and sugar
  3. Use your hands (or a tablespoon if you'd rather not get messy) to thoroughly mix 
  4. Using a tablespoon as a guide, shape the mixture into 16 pyramids and arrange on the baking tray
  5. Bake for aprox 15 minutes, or until they turn golden
So that's the basic recipe and they are really lovely just plain like this, but I thought it could be interesting to try some different flavours. These are the three that I tried:

Flavour variations: Add your chosen flavour ingredients once you have made the basic mix and stir to combine

  1. 100g of roughly chopped glace cherries added to the mix make for a lovely chewy macaroon
  2. Add around 18 squares (aprox 3 chocolate bars, or add to taste) of milk chocolate (or experiment with other chocolates) roughly chopped into the mix. Alternatively you could use chocolate chips. The chocolate melts inside the macaroons, really yummy
  3. A couple of handfuls of fresh or frozen raspberries. I used frozen raspberries and added them straight intro the mix while still  frozen. They may break up a little as you stir them in, but this was my favourite of all the combinations I tried- the raspberries add a lovely tart sweetness to the macaroons and a pink colour.

All that's left to do then is enjoy your Macaroons! If you've made variations on the traditional Coconut Macaroons I'd love to try them to- share your ideas in the comments below! Happy baking!

This was our afternoon tea table- I can't take credit for the beautiful set-up, my friend set it all out beautifully and also made a georgeous pear Tarte Tatin and lots of other tasty bakes. I'd definitely recommend holding your own DIY Afternoon Tea, it was really good fun both in preparing and demolishing! 

Wednesday 25 June 2014

My Favourite Blogs- Claireabellemakes, Jessica Joy, A Alicia

 I read a lot of Blogs everyday- I love to sit down for breakfast and take the time to read posts about other  people's ideas, inspirations and achievements. It's like immersing yourself in the creative world, learning and fueling yourself with inspiration for the day. I find Bloglovin' is great for discovering interesting new blogs to read. I'd like to share with you three of my favourite creative blogs- read on and be inspired!


I first met Claire from Claireabellemakes at The Renegade Craft Fair in London last year. Claire's craft and handmade lifestyle blog centres around handmade DIY tutorials, recipes, beautiful photos taken on her bike rides in her home city of Cambridge and the quirky bicycle, floral and scrabble accessories she makes for her Etsy shop. Claire's friendly personality shines through in her blog posts and the variety of crafty subjects she features keep me looking forward to a post from her appearing in my daily Bloglovin feed. Do check it out for lots of crafty inspiration and beautiful photos- it will make you want to move to Cambridge!

Claire and some examples of her handmade accessories
A Alicia

I first started reading Anna from Aalicia's blog when I discovered her collection of lovely knitted jewellery, made with organic cotton wools. I admire and aspire to Anna's philosophy, as she strives to create work with a reduced environmental impact, using eco and ethically produced and vintage and re purposed materials as much as possible. I like how Anna builds collections around a certain theme, still maintaining the philosophies of her work yet producing new and original collections. Her latest pieces are a collection of beautifully elegant handmade ceramic jewellery. Anna has also recently released a book, "Make it your Own," featuring projects to make for your home. Through her blog, Anna documents the process of her work, the workshops she runs and her inspirations. Her photos are always lovely too- Anna's blog has a beautiful visual style.

Some pieces from Anna's new ceramic jewellery collection

Jessica Joy

Jessica Joy is the blogging home to knitwear and jewellery designer Jessica Biscoe. Through her blog Jess shares her inspirations, knitting tutorials, patterns and recipes. Jess makes very cute knitted jewellery, as well as producing self-designed knitting patterns- a very talented lady! The knitted designs that Jess shares through her blog are so accomplished, it really inspires me to keep knitting and learning. I especially love Jess's knitting tutorial videos which are great for learning new techniques! I'd recommend checking them out. Jess has recently released her first book, "Knitting Smitten," which features beautiful hand knit designs for accessories and homewares. 

Jess's book and examples of her quirky knitted jewellery

I'd love to know your favourite blogs-share them in the comments below!

Monday 23 June 2014

Weekend at the seaside and a purple party! Deal, Kent

I'm just back from lovely Deal on the sunny Kent coast where I have spent the weekend celebrating a friends birthday with a purple party! My friend loves Prince hence the purple theme- check out my purple nails! Here are a few photos from the weekend. I do love to be beside the sea side

Wednesday 18 June 2014

National Knitting in Public Day!

Today is National Knitting in Public Day! I've been taking part by knitting this evening at my local pub- it took me back to my College days when I used to knit on my bus journeys and it always sparked conversation. 

 Have you been celebrating the day? I'd love to see your photos, tag them in the comments below!

Monday 16 June 2014

Sunday Adventures with New Yarn and Ice Lolly Making!

I work three Saturdays in four at my day job so I like to cram lots into my Sunday "weekend!"  I'm generally to be found, like most days, working on my jewellery, but I like to fit some extra curricular Sunday Adventures in too. I thought I'd share with you my latest Sunday Adventures!

I've recently been asked by friends to make them a tea cosy for their newly acquired tea pot and I've chosen some new yarn to make it- lovely soft Peter Pan DK in rainbow colours

The stripey tea cosy pattern calls for you to use 50g of each colour but with the yarn held double, so I borrowed the wool winder from work and set to work spinning two separate 25g balls of each colour

Here are the lovely neat little balls of yarn ready to start using in the week- much quicker and easier than winding them by hand!

As well as catching up on non-work craft projects, I often like to make cakes or some sort of treat on a Sunday (I honestly enjoy the therapy of making of them as much as the eating of them) and this week it was ice lollies! I came across this recipe for strawberry ice lollies online- they are a bit like a take on a Fab and are made with fresh strawberries, yoghurt, white chocolate and hundreds and thousands! Here is Mr Writer with his. Find the recipe for these here and find the ice lolly molds at Lakeland- looking forward to using these lots over the summer!

Hope you all had a happy Sunday- what were your Sunday Adventures?

Friday 13 June 2014

Aztec/Carnival brooches

I've been in the studio today continuing with the Aztec/Carnival themed brooches, made using up-cycled fabrics, eco friendly screen printing inks, sequins, gems and embroidery.

I've been making slow progress on these because I've been working on lots of other things, but I'm really hopeful that in the next couple of weeks I'll be posting to tell you that I've made a small collection! I'm enjoying wearing the original one I made with summery clothes in this lovely weather.

Happy Friday everyone!

Sunday 8 June 2014

Sunday Stitching and stitching recommendations

Today I wanted to share with you a few recent stitchy discoveries and recommendations!

My first recommendation is Tilly Walnes's book Love At First Stitch, which I treated myself to last week and today I have made the Brigitte scarf, which is the first project in the book.

I'm no seamstress- Although I spend my time immersed in all things knitting, at the back of my mind I have always wanted to sew clothes too, but a few less than brilliant attempts have deterred me. I do own several "Learn  to make your own clothes" type books, but have found them too technical and not really geared to the beginner. So, having read and enjoyed the Tilly and the Buttons blog for some time now, I was so pleased to discover Tilly was writing this book! It's bright, fun and jargon free, which is perfect for the beginner, yet appealing to the more advanced dressmaker too. The uncomplicated style of the book, guiding you through projects with step by step photographs has given me confidence and having enjoyed making the scarf I'm intending to make my way through the projects in the book. Next up it's pyjama trousers! There are several full sized patterns included in the book too, so no photocopying or printing out hundreds of sheets of paper, which is a real bonus! I'd definitely recommend grabbing yourself a copy if you're keen to make your own clothes.

You could wear the Brigitte scarf in a variety of ways, but you'll find me wearing mine wrapped around my messy bun!

Something that has held me back when it comes to dressmaking and machine stitching in general is that I find it hard to accurately measure and stitch the seam allowance. Some machines come with seam allowances inscribed on the plate under the presser foot, but mine doesn't have this detail, but a lovely friend recommended I try one of these magnetic stitch guides- you measure your seam allowance from the needle and the magnetic guide marks this measurement and also helps you stitch straight seams, as you butt your fabric up against it as you sew. So simple but so effective! I would definitely recommend getting one, find them in good craft shops. 

Another genius sewing aid I've recently discovered is the Frixion pen! In the past I have used the fabric markers that  fade after use, however I've found them a bit hit and miss- more often than not they don't fade, leaving lines over your fabric, which completely defeats the object. Handily though, I was recently introduced to the brilliant Frixion pens- you can use them to write on paper and then rub the lines out using the other end of the pen, or you can use them to mark your fabric and then remove the lines by hovering over them with a hot iron. Magic! A great addition to your sewing kit, you can find Frixion pens in craft shops and supermarkets

What are your crafty recommendations? Share them in the comments below!
Happy Sunday and happy stitching everyone!

Thursday 5 June 2014

Louise Dawson Design at Things British, St Pancras International Station, London

Today I'm sending off some pieces to London to re-stock my space at Things British. You can find my work in their shop at St Pancras International Station on The Grand Terrace. Find out more about Things British here and visit them to find unique handmade pieces, all crafted in Britain!

Sunday 1 June 2014

New rings in my Etsy shop!

I've just added a selection of new handmade knitted, Harris Tweed and felt rings to my Etsy shop- check them out here

The rings come beautifully presented in a hand branded gift box, making them a lovely gift

Today I'm also debuting a new design inspired by my flower hair slides (also available in my Etsy shop)- over sized flower rings embellished with Swarovski Crystals or a vintage button! If you would like a ring in a particular colour you can't see featured in my shop, I'm always happy to make a custom order, just ask!