Saturday, 31 October 2009

Coraline pumpkin

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Happy Celtic New Year.
We are having a Coraline theme to our Halloween party this year.
I've just finished this pumpkin. I'm hoping to do another one as it needs a few adjustments here and there but thought I would post this one anyway.
More photos later.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Best book shelf ever !

How Wonderful is this Bookshelf ?

You can find more details about the Designer here.... at Design Artist.

After recently moving house I've been looking for some new ideas. The new house needs some TLC and hopefully some of the work will be starting in the next few weeks. We have a big meeting with our builder on Monday. So in the meantime we are living with the previous owners taste in decor. Its exciting to be starting afresh with a new space to transform. We are trying to furnish this home with as many renewed pieces as we can, but will I'm sure find space some new stuff.

I've realised that after a few weeks browsing that there is a bit of a tree theme running through

the items that I have as favourites, some are unfortunately out side our budget like......

This Beautiful bed by Shawn Lovell Metal Works.

However I can afford this ....

Its from Urban Outfitters and more in my price range at £16.

This bed is cute but in my opinion is over dressed, I think it would be great with a less is more approach to the linen and accessories, what do you think ?

Its available on Etsy and called The Apple Tree bed, which is coincidental as since the first time we viewed our new home we have called it the Apple Tree House.
The bed is designed by Attilladesign.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Work in progress

My sewing bug has returned. Inspired by the birth of a friends new baby girl.
I've had this project or one similar to this in mind now for a long time and the birth of Charlotta's little girl has prompted me to give it a burl. I had lots of little tiny patchwork hexagons around after making my flower pin cushion so kindly blogged at turning*turning. So I thought I could put them to good use.

I really can't tell you how much I enjoy making tiny patchwork. I really enjoy using up little pieces of fabric that other wise would be thrown away, yet when put together can be spectacular.

The fact that you can easily carry it with you. Making every opportunity to do a little sewing, no matter where you are. Last week we took a trip to a nearby beach and while O & M explored I was able to sit by the shore line and sew (more about this trip soon).

I'm currently searching for a pretty red work monogram to embroider in the centre of the blanket stitched heart. I was wondering if anyone knew of any good "free" sites for monogram patterns ?
Hoping to get this finished in the next few days so I'll post a picture of it finished and framed.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Perfect Pound Cake

At home my family love my cupcakes and cookies. My cakes on the other hand are not met with the same enthusiasm.

For years I've been blaming it on my oven . I'm sure that before we bought it my cakes were much nicer.

In attempt to prove this theory I've been trying some new cake recipes. The first attempt was the Bruce Bogtrotter cake from Jane Brockets lovely book "Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer."

This was a very successful attempt. Couldn't fault my oven, I'm begining to realise it may be all in the Recipe.

This week I found the perfect Pound Cake recipe. So easy and it even worked for me. I originally found the recipe on RecipeZaar, but tweeked it a little.

Here's my version if you want to give it a try.

Perfect Pound Cake ......

3 cups golden caster sugar

1 cup softened cream cheese

1 1/2 cups softened butter

6 medium free range eggs (room temperature)

1 tsp good vanilla essence

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

3 cups plain flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1, Cream sugar, butter and cream cheese, untill pale

2, Add eggs one at a time, beat well

3, sift dry ingredients together and add in stages to cream mixture

4, place in well greased 10" pan (I used two ring baking pans as mine were smaller)

5, Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 mins

6, Let cake cool in pan for 15 mins before removing, this ensures the cake stays


7, Better served the day after baking.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Property development for Fairies

Recently we took a day to drive to the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

We walked through the grounds of Mount Stewart, enjoying the ancient trees and the carpet of bluebells.

Then we came across this little jetty at the edge of the lake.


These Alpine water ferns totally caught our imagination.

M and I almost immediately thought of Fairies.

We had recently read Barry and Tracy Kane's book "Fairy houses Everywhere"

The rest of the day was spent collecting materials and building.

We enjoyed building this little house so much .

I can see a Summer filled with more Fairy Real Estate.

I've agreed to carry a ball of twine and pair of nail scissors with us on all our walks and park visits just incase.

You can find some beautiful fairy houses created by Roxie on Flickr here and here.

Sometimes its Sunny

Some afternoons its Sunny in my back garden and here is the proof.
And, there are daisies popping up everywhere !

Hope the sun lasts for a few days more.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Sew Songs

I know I've been away from my blog for a while. Lots of new stuff has been happening though.
There is a new Home for us in the next few weeks and I've been busy organizing all the grown up contract stuff for that.
I have lots of new ideas for this house as its pretty much a blank canvas. We will have lots more room and a beautiful garden and to top it all an Apple Tree!!
So as you can guess there has been limited crafting happening around here.
Just lots of cutting ideas from magazines and a little sewing, accompanied by the
Beautiful voice of Lisa Hannigan.....

This song "I don't know " is free on Itunes

Lovely album cover as well, don't you think ?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Pear and Almond

After an unplanned break from my blog I've eventually got my act together to post. It's not that I haven't been thinking of blogging, but with a nasty chest infection and a sprained ankle I just haven't had the energy to do very much.
However I'm glad that both have now resolved and I'm back to my old self.
Anyway the picture above is of my latest muffin flavor combination.
Even if I do say so myself they are scrummy.
Sweet, moist and delicious. Best eaten when still warm.
I've used my regular muffin recipe but substituted 1 oz of ground almonds for 1 oz of flour, added a few drops of almond essence and some freshly chopped ripe pears.
A dusting of icing sugar while they were cooling just finished them off nicely.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

I don't know about you but my hands have been Freezing over the past few weeks.
This has prompted me to search for nice patterns for hand warmers. Although I like the idea of a full glove, they prove to be unpractical and I hate the loss of dexterity that comes with having the ends of your fingers covered.
So for me the perfect solution is market gloves, hand warmers or fingerless gloves.
I found these crocheted beauties on Etsy, made by the lovely Salina.

You can find more lovely things made by Salina on her blog Salina's Home Journal. I just love the cotton lace trim so much.

Thank you Salina. They are so comfortable, warm and most importantly pretty.

There is a saying that goes "Cold hands , Warm Heart" so to prove this true I've decided to have my first Give Away.

While searching for pretty patterns I have been tinkering with my own and have come up with these.

Please excuse the dodgy nail painting, nail art is unfortunately not my forte. I must get M trained up in the art of manicure.
If you leave a comment to this post with a link or copy of your favourite soup recipe before the 1st of February, I will enter you into the draw to win a pair of these hand warmers. You can choose the colour.
Good Luck.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The challenge of a Chocolate cake.

There has been some Very cold weather around here lately , so the fire has been lit most nights.
Some of the best things in the world according to O are a real fire and a Chocolate cake. I tend to agree.
Now I must admit to being a lot more proficient in the cupcake making department.
I tend to burn large cakes a lot !
Not sure why as my scones, cookies and other baking are usually OK, some of it I'm told is very good.

So I saw 2009 as the year to conquer my fear of the CAKE !!

Luckily for me one of my Christmas presents was "Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer" by the ingenious Jane Brocket. While following her blog Yarnstorm I had always admired her cake making expertise. Jane's cakes were never runny in the middle and burnt to a crisp at the edges like mine.

Book in hand I accepted the challenge from O to attempt the Bruce Bogtrotter Chocolate Cake. The ideas for the recipes in Jane's book all come from children's fiction. They can all be found either being made or eaten by the characters in stories that we all know and love.
The origin of the Chocolate cake is from Roald Dahl's "Matilda" were Bruce Bogtrotter is made to finish eating a large chocolate cake by miss Trunchbull as punishment for stealing. My children have always loved this story and were delighted at the thought of having a slice of the cake from "Matilda".

The resulting cake I'm glad to say was a complete success. I'm so pleased that at last I have found a chocolate cake recipe that works for me and my oven.

Another Christmas present was the pastry tin to make these pretty buns.

They are made using the Garden Gang cake pan from Lakeland. Available here. Small buns are much more familiar territory for me . The tin is made of really heavy aluminium. I was apprehensive that it would be difficult to remove the cakes in one piece after baking, but the tin works beautifully and gives a beautiful result.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Starting the Year

I can't believe this is my first post of 2009 ! Where have those two weeks gone? Working night shift over Christmas has meant that the holidays have zoomed past for me. The Maternity unit where I work was has been very busy over the past few weeks.

I thought I'd post this photograph taken by D on the first walk of the year. It's of the road approaching Slieve Binnion in the Mourne Mountains. I think it is such a tranquil scene. It reminds me to slow my pace in 2009. The natural colour scheme of purple, pink and green is so soothing and the dry stone wall is a beautiful contrast.

So far in 2009 I've been smitten by the hand stitching bug and have spent the past few nights stitching these tiny fabric boxes while sitting by a lovely peat fire.

They are great for holding small items of jewellery. I've also used them over Christmas as gift boxes to hold small surprises. They are also a good way to use up those little scraps left over from bigger projects.

The pattern for these little gems can be found in this book.

Which is available here.