Current projects

Under the Needle: Nothing! (oh dear)
In the oven: Vanilla cupcakes

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Malteasers cupcakes

I've realised that everything I have that is small-cake related is actually not cupcake sized! So, I'm following a malteaser cupcake recipe but actually they will be smaller.... oh well, better for all of us I guess :-)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Many layered spinkles cake

After taking my carrot cake to work, I asked what I should make next. A bit of googling and we stumbled across this amazing looking cake at Raspberri Cupcakes. Nothing like a baking challenge to get me going, so I said I would make it, and here are the results. 

PS I decided that Raspberri Cupcakes must have used magic to stick the sprinkles to the side of the cake so didn't attempt it! Oh, and as I only had red food colouring, that had to do!

First off, here's the 5 bowls of coloured batter, ready to bake into the layers of the cake:

And the final decorated version! Isn't it pretty?

A close up, just because.

And the secret surprise on the inside :-)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

"The best carrot cake I have ever tasted" recipe!

As promised, here is the recipe for the carrot cake, partly taken from the BBC's Good Food website:

For the cake:

1 orange
140g raisins, or whatever you have if less
125ml rapeseed or olive oil
230g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder, plus an additional pinch
1 rounded tsp of ground cinnamon
140g caster sugar
280g grated carrot (my carrots weighed just under 400g before I peeled them)
2 eggs

For the frosting:

125g unsalted butter, room temp
50g icing sugar
250g cream cheese
1 tsp of vanilla essence

To make the cake:

Heat the oven to 160 C (I used 150 C as my oven appears hotter than normal). Oil and line the base and sides of a deep cake tin - I used a 20cm round tin, but you could use a square one.

Grate the zest of the orange into a bowl with the raisins. Add the juice, then mix. Set aside.

Mix the flour with the baking powder (not the pinch, that's for later), the cinnamon and the bicarbonate of soda. Set aside for the moment.

Separate 1 egg - put the yolk in a large bowl, and the white in a small bowl. Set the white aside (yes, I know - another item set aside - bear with me!). Break the remaining egg in with the yolk, then add the sugar. Whisk until thick (about 2 mins). Slowly pour in the oil and whisk on a low speed until well combined.

Add the flour mix, half at a time, a stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula - this will be quite hard as the mix is quite stiff at this point!

Now return to your set aside white, and add the pinch of baking powder. Whisk to soft peaks.

Fold the carrot and the raisin mix (including the liquid) into the flour mixture; again, this will start out quite difficult, but will get easier. Once combined, gently fold in the egg white. Your mixture should now be relatively runny, in a solid sort of way!

Pour into the tin, then wobble it to level the mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until risen and firm - a skewer or something similar should come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes or so, then remove and peel off the paper. Leave on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Whilst the cake is cooling, make the frosting...

Beat the butter and icing sugar together, then beat in the cream cheese and vanilla. Chill until solid, but not so much that you can't spread it! When the cake is completely cool, frost the cake however you like; I covered the top and sides, but you could just cover the top, or even cut the cake in half and use some to sandwich it together.

Get a fork, and enjoy!

"The best carrot cake I have ever tasted!"

So, last night I made a carrot cake. I have never made one before, so I wasn't sure how this would turn out, however as you can see from the title of this post, it went down very well at work!

I am saving some to take home, but half of it has been scoffed already :-)

I'll sneak a photo later, hopefully without people thinking I am completely made, then update the post! Recipe to follow.....

Editing to add a photo - this is almost all that is left! Excuse the orange slugs carrots; they were made by hubby, and they have kind of slid off the top of the cake... :-)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

My finished pleated and pocketed bag!

I'm so pleased with how this came out! It's taken me about 6 hours, I guess; maybe a little more. And it's almost 1.30am right now. But I had to finish it! Here's some photos and I'll link to the tutorial later:

One side:

The other side, with the reclaimed dress fabric:

The inside, showing pockets on each side (yes, pockets!) made from the same fabric as the outside.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bag project

I've decided the next project will be a bag, and I'm going to reclaim some fabric from a kid's dress for part of it - that's my next job!

Editing to add a few photos of my progress so far - excited as it's coming together well! Too late to continue tonight, so tomorrow is "learn how to use interfacing for the first time" day, plus I need to figure out how to make pockets to go inside :-)

First is the material I have reclaimed from a dress:

Next we have the bag, inside out, where I have attached the top contrast strip:

And here it is, showing part of the other side and my lining/interfacing underneath, ready to be assembled tomorrow:

A quiet few days

It's been a craft-quiet few days at home, although I have been browsing pinterest for inspiration. I'm going to be going through all my fabric over the weekend and see what I fancy making next.

Any suggestions for the next project?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Poached pear and frangipane tart recipe

Recipe for poached pear and frangipane tart

NB my oven appears to be very hot, so you may need to increase your cooking temp a little if yours is not as effective!

For the pastry:

90g butter, softened
65g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
200g plan flour

For the Frangipane:

125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 whole eggs
125g ground almonds
1 tbsp plain flour

For the poached pears:

250g caster sugar
4 pears
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
Lemon juice (half a lemon’s worth)
½ a vanilla pod
1 star anise


Make the pastry – cream butter and sugar then beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time, until fully combined.
Mix in the flour until the mixture comes to a dough.
Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth.
Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 mins.

Make the frangipane – Cream the butter and sugar. Gradually beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Fold in the almonds and flour. Mix until combined then chill until needed.

Make the poached pears - Put the sugar in a saucepan,add 500ml water and place over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Peel the pears and add to the pan, along with the cinnamon and star anise. Add the lemon juice, and half a lemon and orange zest if wished. Split the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add to the pan along with the pod. Add some more water to just cover the pears.

Cut out a circle of baking paper large enough to fit inside the pan, and lay on top of the pears. Weigh down with a saucer or small saucepan lid so that the pears stay submerged in the poaching liquor. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the pears to a plate with a slotted spoon and discard the liquor and solids.

Preheat the oven to 120°C (fan).

Make the tart:

I usually then put my pastry into the tart tin, and push it into shape with my fingers/a spoon – you could roll out first if preferred. Prick all over with a fork. Add a circle of parchment and your baking beans/rice, then blind bake the pastry for approx. 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the beans/parchment. Whisk up an egg then paint over the pastry to seal (make sure the pastry is hot when you do this). When the egg has sealed, and the pastry has cooled, add the frangipane mix and level out. Chill the tart at this point if the pears are not ready, or cool enough to handle.

Leave the oven on, but lower the temperature to 100°C.

When the pears are cooked and cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways and remove the core/stalk etc with a teaspoon. Arrange them on the top of the frangipane however you prefer.

Bake the tart at 100°C for approx. 30 minutes (not sure about this though – keep an eye!), checking to see when the frangipane is set. At this point, turn the oven up to approx. 150°C and bake for a short while longer until the pastry starts to turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven to a cool rack.

Enjoy a large slice warm with ice cream or clotted cream J

Monday, 9 January 2012

My first clothing alteration!

It had to happen at some point... I needed to alter some clothes! The largest small one had ruined her shirt cuffs so I decided to turn her long sleeved shirt into a short sleeved one. It actually turned out ok, but it's awkward as Hell! I used one of her current short sleeved shirts to check length/hem etc

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Patchwork placemats

Here's some placemats I put together this evening, using fabric samples and donated pieces of material, along with my trusty fleece blanket as batting! Thanks to this tutorial here.

I definitely need to get some interfacing as this will be much easier to manage than the fleece.

I think a full set of these, plus matching coasters, could make nice gifts :-)

Here's both of them together:

Here's the back:

Here's a closer shot of the patchwork:

Pear and frangipane tart

As made last night, ready for our friends coming to lunch today. It'll follow home made chilli and rice, with garlic bread (I cheated with this one!) and cajun coated wedges.. mmmmm!


I've managed to braid and sew 1 sock yarn coaster this evening, along with playing around with some free samples of fabric I received to make another "normal" style coaster. This was pretty easy to do, except for the fact that I sewed the material together in the wrong order to start with, meaning I had to unpick! Plus, I learnt NOT to start sewing in a corner, but to start mid edge; that way, you don't have tiny wisps of fabric poking up in the corner when you come to finish up.... I'll get it right next time!

Anyway, here's a pic of the 2 coasters I made tonight. The 1st one has a plain back. I'd like to add a back to the braided one, but I don't really know where to start.... it's too thick to go under the sewing machine foot!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Odd sock project update

Ball #2 complete. That is all.

A little break....

Well, after the craziness that has been my daughter's 5th birthday, I'm back to cutting up socks tonight! Here's a picture of the massive sugar rush pink princess castle birthday cake I made with hubby late last night, resulting in a kitchen covered in glitter and icing sugar! Just got to find enough people to eat it now :-)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Odd sock project

I have a large box of odd socks, and thought I really ought be able to make something out of them - something that is not sock puppets! I have been pondering it for a day or so, and realised I could probably cut them so that they ended up as strips of fabric. My plan is to turn them all into strips, then turn them into a braided rag rug!

I'm following the tutorial here, but mine will have a twist as it'll be made out of socks :-) It'll probably take me a while to have enough strips to make a decent sized rug but I've made a start.

You can see in the photo some of the stripy socks from my "stash", plus a ball of sock strips which I have joined together.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A late night plan....

I haven't made anything today, but I have been reading the forums on; specifically the decluttering thread! My plan is to declutter the house to a point where everything has a home, then I can have a proper space in my bedroom to do the sewing....

I've started tonight by clearing some junk and old toiletries from the bathroom - baby steps!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Project #2

So I fancied something a bit quicker tonight, for satisfaction purposes, and I found this quick phone "snug" tutorial over on Squidoo. It took me about 40 minutes in total, and that's longer than it should have as I made the seam allowances too large on the first go, meaning I had to unpick! I finished it off and my phone only just fits, so I think I will have a go at making another. Also I'm not too happy with how the seam came out on one side so practice will hopefully make perfect :-)

PS It's the same fabric I used for the kindle cover as that's what I had to hand!

My finished patchwork Kindle cover

So I decided not to do the top stitching (Elizabeth from the blog mentioned below suggested kindly that it would not matter) - I added a button from my random collection (must get some more) and it's done! I've added a couple of pics below - sadly I do not have a Kindle; this is a gift for my mum!

I used some scraps I had, plus an old fleece for the batting, then I even had a go at basic quilting... It all went a little wonky, but I got there in the end!

My first post!

So I thought it was about time that I started a new blog, dedicated to things I make (or perhaps to things I "intend" to make too!)...

Last night I set up my new sewing machine, and plowed a few hours into making my first proper sewing project - a kindle cover. I chose a little tutorial from a lovely blog called Elizabeth's Whimsies, and I almost managed to complete it in one evening. I just need to figure out if I will ruin it (and it's certainly not perfect as it is!) by doing the top stitching, before I place the button.

I didn't have any batting as suggested so I stole an old fleece blanket from the girls (they won't notice!) and used that instead. I'm pleased with how it turned out, and when I have put the button on I'll be looking forward to starting the next project!

Watch this space for a photo of the finished item!