Tuesday 29 April 2014

Weekend roundup- The Hazel Gallery Spring Arts Fair

On Saturday I headed into Colchester town to take part in the The Hazel Gallery Spring Arts Fair at The Waiting Room in St Boltolph's. I'd like to say thank you to Lucy Hook-Child who organised the day and bought together a lovely selection of makers selling their handmade work. Despite the soggy weather early on it was a great day with live bands creating a really upbeat atmosphere.

Saturday was the first outing of my handmade ring stand which was made following a tutorial on Pinterset using just a box lid, felt, wadding and a staple gun. Check out my Ring Display Ideas board here

I also had some new Hair-slide designs- I'll be adding some of the new designs to my Etsy shop in the coming weeks

One of my favourite stands was Comics and Cogs, who are makers after my own heart, creating jewellery and accessories from items such as watch parts, old comics and damaged books (such a clever idea). Check out their Facebook page here and have a look at the photos of the beautiful things they make. A piece from them is definitely on my wishlist!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Recipe: Rosewater, White Chocolate and Pistachio Cupcakes

I hope you all had a lovely Easter. As is traditional in my household, this Easter Sunday I made cakes! I love to bake and I especially enjoy trying out new flavour combinations.

 I bought a large bottle of Rosewater in a Deli last year and I've been experimenting with different ways of cooking with it. These Rosewater, White Chocolate and Pistachio Cupcakes have a subtle Rosewater flavour- add more or less to taste. I also think these would be lovely with the addition of chopped chunks of white chocolate added to the cake mix- it all depends on how sweet you like your cupcakes. If you make these I hope you enjoy them and let me know what you think!

Makes 16
  • 150g Self-Raising Flour
  • 150g Butter
  • 125g Caster Sugar
  • 3 medium Free Range Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
For the icing:
  • 150g Icing Sugar
  • 150g Butter
  • 50g White Chocolate
  • 1.5 tsp Rosewater
  • A handful of chopped Pistachios

For the cakes:

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees and line cupcake tins with paper cases

1). Beat together the butter and sugar with a spoon or hand mixer until smooth

2) Add the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition

3) Sift in your flour and fold the mixture together until all of the flour is incorporated, taking care not to over mix. Add the Vanilla Extract whilst folding

4) Spoon the cake mixture into cupcake cases

5) Bake for 15-20 minutes at 190 degrees. Check the cakes after 15 minutes- they are ready when a skewer or cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean

6) Leave to cool

For the icing:

1) Melt 50g White Chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, or in a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool

2) Beat together the icing sugar and butter until all of the icing sugar is incorporated 

3) Add 1.5 tsp Rosewater and the cooled White Chocolate and mix until incorporated

4) Pipe or spread the icing onto the cakes and top with chopped Pistachios. Add shavings of White Chocolate

5) Enjoy with a nice cup of tea and a sit down!

Find out how to make these lacy coasters in my How To
Happy making!

Monday 21 April 2014

How To... Make a set of coasters using old CDs and lace

If you're anything like me you'll have some old CDs or DVDs hanging around that you're not sure what to do with- like the free ones you get with newspapers that you never get round to listening to. Sound familiar? 

Well here's an idea of how you can up-cycle them into something useful- make them into a new set of coasters! Combine these with that tester pot of paint that's languishing at the back of the garage and those doilies you found at a boot fair that you'd forgotten you had and it makes for quite a thrifty make!

1) You will need

Old CDs or DVDs, paint tester pot, PVA glue, heavy cotton lace doilies or trimmings, plain cotton fabric (I used the cotton fabric from a lace edged cloth but you could use Calico, an old shirt or sheet, etc), felt to match your chosen colour scheme, paintbrush, fabric scissors

2) Glue the felt to your CDs

Apply PVA glue to one side of each of your CDs and stick onto the felt. Leave to dry

3) Cut away excess felt

 4) Repeat step 3 on the other side of your CDs, this time using your plain cotton fabric. 

Leave to dry and then cut away the excess fabric

5) Apply a layer of PVA to the cotton side of your CDs

6) Lay your heavy lace onto the glued side of your CDs and leave to dry

It's much easier if you leave each layer to dry completely before moving onto the next step, and less messy too!

7) When dry, cut away the excess lace

You could use a regular thin lace for this, but I find the heavier lace and crocheted cotton doilies are more effective as the paint really highlights their texture

8) Paint your coasters

You could choose to leave the coasters unpainted at this stage as they still look pretty left like this, or you could paint them using your tester pot. Give each coaster one coat of paint and allow to dry

You could try this on a larger scale- I'd like to cover a wooden tray or cork place mats and mix and match with different colours

9) Use your new set of coasters as a good excuse to have tea and cake!

I'll be posting the recipe for my white chocolate, rosewater and pistachio cup cakes that you can see here on Wednesday!

Happy making!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Embroidery class!

Here's a little look at what a friend and I got up to this afternoon at our first embroidery class! We're both keen to master the basic stitches, so we went along and today and our lovely tutor taught us how to make French Knots! I would like to include some hand embroidery in my new project so I'm really excited to have the chance to learn new techniques.

We started by transferring a floral design onto calico, and then we started to fill in the image using the French Knots.

Transferring the drawing onto Calico

Tea, biscuits, good company and stitching!

Our homework is to fill in the rest of the flower buds with French knots. We're going back for another lesson in a couple of weeks when we will learn more stitches to complete the stems and leaves and I'm looking forward to another therapeutic afternoon! I'll keep you posted on our progress- I'm off to stitch French Knots onto everything to practice!

Sunday 13 April 2014

New materials

 I've been experimenting with learning Fair Isle knitting recently and I've decided that I'd like to have this as a Winter project. In the meantime, I wanted to make some bright and summery textile jewellery, so here's a sneak peak at what I'll be working on this week!

 I've been gathering off-cuts of Liberty print fabrics from Ebay (this is a new brightly coloured batch, I love them!), as well as hand embroidered tray cloths, and I'd like to combine these with lace and other up-cycled materials. I also wanted to add some extra colour and I'm excited to have discovered these Permaset Eco Friendly screen printing inks. Looking forward to getting to grips with these- I've just started making some handmade stamps using wood blocks and fun foam (more on this later in the week). I'm also going to an embroidery class later this week as I'd like to include some hand embroidery. It's going to be a busy week! 


Hand embroidered Tray Cloth

I'm planning to patch strips of the different fabrics together

Wednesday 9 April 2014

The Hazel Gallery Spring Arts Fair

On Saturday 26th April I will be taking part in The Hazel Gallery Spring Arts Fair, at The Waiting Room, Colchester. There will be lots of stall holders selling original handmade pieces, gifts and artwork, as well as live music, workshops, tea and cake (!) and vintage pop-up-shops on board a Routemaster bus! Well worth a trip!

Come and say hello, I'll be having a sample sale of pieces from my new Spring collection, as well as showcasing some new knitted rings and brooches in Spring colours. Hope to see you there!

Monday 7 April 2014

A thank you gift- 20% off in my Etsy shop!

By way of a very big thank you for reading my Blog, you can now get 20% off all purchases in my Etsy shop until 5th May- Just enter the code Thankyou20 at the checkout and treat yourself or a loved one to some unique handmade jewellery and accessories!

Sunday 6 April 2014

New stockist! Dorothy and Theodore

I'm very happy to tell you that you can now buy my handmade Hair-slides online from the lovely Dorothy and Theodore! Dorothy and Theodore is an online boutique which was created to offer beautiful and unique products for both parents and children all in one place. They have some beautiful spring gift ideas- Take a look...

I'd never considered creating Hair-slides for children until now, but I hope parents will like them for dressing up their little girls party outfit or for accessorizing a flower girl outfit. This has given me lots of ideas so I'm now hoping to create a whole range of Hair-slides for children, watch this space!

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Up-cycling experiments

Experiments with Liberty fabric off cuts, a hand embroidered tray cloth and a stripey sheet! I'm not entirely convinced at the outcome at the moment but it's work in progress- I'm going to try making some brooches in other shapes and experiment with embroidery, beading and perhaps some dying over the top. I'll carry on experimenting and keep you up to date on the progress!